Turns out charging your costumers for content they can essentially get for free isn’t necessarily the best option. Even if your content is really, really good. They’ve seen a decline between 5 and 15 percent.
These numbers are interesting in a couple of ways: on the one hand, the New York Timessaid that it did exhaustive research of its online readership in the year or so it was working on the paywall plan, and that it expected the majority of readers would never hit the wall, since most non-subscribers didn’t read more than 20 articles a month. And yet as many as 15 percent — which would work out to about six million visitors a month, based on the NYT’s estimated overall traffic — are no longer coming to the site, possibly because even the threat of hitting a paywall is enough to deter them.