The New York Times has abandoned the subscription model for its TimesSelect and will open up its entire website to the online public, effective September 19th. American Express has signed on as sponsor of the newly opened sections of NYTimes.com.
Ending TimesSelect will give all Internet users access to 23 news and opinion columnists, personalization tools and the Times archives back to 1987 at no charge.
TimesSelect was launched in September 2005 and, two years later, had approximately 787,400 active subscribers. Approximately 471,200 received TimesSelect free of charge as a benefit of their home-delivery subscriptions, while 227,000 paid for online access and another 89,200 received it for free on college campuses through TimesSelect University. The company said it expects increased usage once the pay-barrier is eliminated, netting it more in ad revenues than it had generated from user fees.
The only part of the former pay service not being opened up are the New York Times archives from 1923-1986, which will be available for purchase in single or 10-article packages. Strangely, the archives from 1851-1922 and 1987-present will be free.