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Memo Pad: Peeking Behind the Wall...Holiday Cheer — Sort of...

The pay wall for nytimes.com will launch sometime early next year, but just how much will it cost?

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PEEKING BEHIND THE WALL: The pay wall for nytimes.com will launch sometime early next year, but just how much will it cost?

Though New York Times Co. executives are remaining quiet about pricing and launch date, they offered a few more details on Tuesday morning at the UBS Annual Global Media and Communications Conference. “You can look at our digital products now and how it’s priced for some way to begin to think about it,” said Scott Heekin-Canedy, president of The New York Times. “For example, the Kindle, the Times Reader and other such products are priced at $19.99 per month.”

If the Times pay model does cost that much — which translates to about $240 a year — that would be quite a bit steeper than most in the media world had predicted.

The Times believes it can maintain its already strong revenue from digital advertising since a metered pay wall will allow for a steady readership and a “first click free” approach. This means readers, who find a Times story on Facebook, on blogs or on Twitter, will be able to read the story without immediately triggering the pay wall. The metered model, which the Times has been thinking about for at least 18 months, allows a certain number of clicks on nytimes.com before a reader hits a wall and has to pay up to read more.

Times Co. chief executive officer Janet Robinson said the pay model would launch sometime in the first quarter next year and called the pay strategy a “milestone for our company.”

“We have done an enormous amount of analysis leading up to this launch, we are very prepared and our confidence is very high,” she said. — John Koblin

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