The New York Times has come to understood that traffic, and therefore increased ad revenues, is a better way to go than paid content and tomorrow they’ll not only stop charging for subscriptions, they are going to put archives online without any paywall.
This is a win win for everybody. NYT has some of the best coverage in the world and it’s going to be easier and cheaper to get at that content soon. That’ll bring millions more to the site, so NYT will also win big in this deal. Their quality content will drive millions of new visitors and tens of millions of new pageviews to the site monthly and increase their advertising revenue by (I’m guessing wildly here) approximately $600,000 per month (this is based on 40,000,000 new page views and the $15 CPM I think NYT can easily command from their huge stable of old and new advertisers) .
People have such a funny, contradictory, and largely misunderstood relationship to advertising. Like it or not, advertising in various forms drives not only much of the content we work with online, view on TV, hear on radio, and read in print. I’d argue that print is the least distorted by the relationship of the media to advertising though I’m not sure why that is. Online varies quite a bit from sites with very pristine content and no ads to those who monetize content with very relevant ads to “made for adsense” sites where the only reason for existence is PPC monetization. TV is probably the most distorted by advertising. Not so much because advertisers can dictate content, but because unprofitable networks or shows will fail, so the evolution of news has been to celebrity gossip and superficial garbage rather than the more important stuff that does not attract our prurient superficial primate interest in sex, drugs, rock and roll, and Britney Spears.