The New York Times has finally acted on plans to charge for its web content
. Starting March 28, heavy readers will have to pay $15 a month to access NYTimes.com and the paper's mobile app, $20 for the site and its iPad app, or $35 for all three platforms.
Subscribers to the physical paper will receive unlimited access across all digital platforms except e-readers like the Kindle and Nook, but this might change in the future. This will also apply to subscribers of The International Herald Tribune, which is NYT's global edition.
Again, that's just for regular readers. Casual visitors will still be able to open 20 articles per month without paying (this includes videos and slideshows). Once you crack that threshold you'll have to pony up -- though there are loopholes to access content for free.
The Times will grant free access to articles linked on social networks including Facebook and Twitter, as well as blogs and search engines. You'll only be able to read five articles a day that are linked from Google, but that restriction doesn't seem to apply to Bing.
Meanwhile, the homepage and all section fronts will remain open to everyone, as will the "Top News" section on the site's mobile and tablet apps. The NYTimes wants to make it clear that it's not implementing a total paywall like The Times of London and Newsday.
It's worth noting that the 20-article cap is effective immediately in Canada as the site needs time to find unresolved bugs before the feature is slammed by US visitors. Does this change affect your opinion of the paper? Will you subscribe to one of the packages?