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New York Times Introducing Lower-Cost Subscription Models

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NEW YORK TIMES ROMNEY
AP

The New York Times plans to introduce lower-cost subscription models as part of a new growth strategy unveiled by the company on Tuesday.

The new options under development — described in a statement from the Times — will include lower-cost access to the newspaper's "most important and interesting stories," and to "specific content areas such as politics, technology, opinion, the arts and food."

There will also be a higher-priced premium option that will offer "extras," like opportunities to attend events and digital access for family members, to subscribers. The Times said that it expects to debut these packages at the end of the year.

The news on Thursday comes as the company announced its first quarter earnings, which included a 2% decline in revenue, and $3.1 million income — down from $42.1 million this time last year. The difference in income was so steep because the company sold some of its company's assets and had higher circulation revenue in the first quarter of 2012.

Circulation revenue, however, increased 6.5 percent — growth that the company attributed in part to the Times having "stepped up its digital subscription initiatives and raised prices for its print edition." Digital subscriptions to the newspaper were also up this quarter compared to last year.

The Times launched its paywall in 2011, and saw its digital subscriptions and circulation revenue grow — even as advertising revenue continued to fall — last year.

The newspaper has experimented with its paywall in recent months, cutting down the number of free articles per month from 20 to 10 and lifting the paywall for videos on its website.

A digital subscription to the Times currently starts at $15 a month, which allows readers to read stories on the newspaper's website and on their smartphones. Print subscribers also get free digital access.

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