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Nisenholtz: ‘Our content is not out there to be stolen’ - #NAAmXc11
By Fernando Valdes
The New York Times, the most linked and tweeted source in the world, started a new era today (March 28) by seizing control of its content and managing the way its links are used by implementing a highly anticipated paywall.
Monday morning's keynote speaker Martin Nisenholtz, senior vice president of digital operations at The New York Times Co., said online newspapers are in a new era in which they can't sustain themselves by allowing people to use their content freely with no preconditions and copyright controls. Newspapers have to manage content in order to keep providing it while still remaining successful.
"I would really be careful of the word lockdown - it is not what we are doing," Nisenholtz said. "We don't want to do that. We call this ‘managed links' because we are saying we need some managed process on the way our content is used on the Internet."
With the new paywall, users can read up to 20 articles for free every four weeks. After that, users must pay in order to access content.
The paywall is part of a larger Times strategy to manage its content.
"We are beginning to enforce the idea that our content is not out there to be stolen and to be remixed into a greater experience that can be monetized by Silicon Valley. It's not fair and will not continue," Nisenholtz said.
According to Nisenholtz, a pure link is of no value to The New York Times. It only creates value for those aggregating the links to their own websites.
Nisenholtz said that if links are not managed, in five to 10 years there will be no content providers because they will all be out of business.
He noted that The Times is confident in its paywall and has no plans for moving away from it in the near future.
"We have done a significant amount of research," he said. "We are reasonably sure of ourselves. I don't think any of us is looking at a plan B."
The New York Times has implemented a flexible module that allows for raising the number of free articles users can view in order to generate more advertising revenue. Alternatively, the number can be lowered to gain more subscribers.
Nisenholtz said the paywall gives The Times flexibility with content and tighter controls over copyright. The alternative? The industry "will be nibbled to death."
Fernando Valdes is a student at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Find out more about Fernando and other students reporting live from NAA's mediaXchange here.
Mar 28 2011, 02:04 PM
About Amanda Knowles
Amanda Knowles is Web & Social Media Manager at the Newspaper Association of America. Before coming to NAA, Amanda spent four years working in print journalism, both at the college and professional level. She has worked as a copy editor and news page designer for two daily newspapers in northwestern Pennsylvania, The Erie Times-News and The Meadville Tribune. Most recently, she collaborated on The American Observer, the online magazine edited and produced by graduate journalism students at American University in Washington, D.C. Amanda believes strongly in the secure future of the newspaper, and is excited to be a participant in the movement to integrate traditional print media into the burgeoning digital world.