Speaking to the World Editors Forum in Hamburg, Janet Robinson said the site will remain part of the "open web ecosystem" and will have millions of users referred to it by third-party sites by employing a "first click free" strategy, such as that offered by Google, where readers can view one page on the site for free before being prompted to register or subscribe.
The decision to offer some articles for free and remain open to blogs and social networks via "first-click" is in stark contrast to News International's decision to take the Times out of Google News' index and to introduce a site-wide paywall in July.
More details of the forthcoming metered model, its pricing point and the subscription packages involving print and online to be offered by the New York Times will be announced later this year, she said, adding that readers will have access to a set number of free articles a month.
Robinson said that "a great deal of thought has gone into our preparation for this conversion", involving analysis which has shown a willingness to pay for quality content among readers.
The New York Times' paid content plans for next year will not be its first foray into charging for online access. In September 2007 it ended its TimesSelect paywall, through which 227,000 users were paying $49.95 a year or $7.95 a month for online access
"TimesSelect was a pioneering programme that generated significant revenue and reader support. We ended TimesSelect because of the growing dominance of search usage on the web," said Robinson.
The New York Times will expand to all new digital devices as they are developed in the hope of diversifying its reader and revenue base, she added. But news companies must use new technologies to establish a "human connection" with readers and their content, emulating their relationship with print, she said.
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