New York Times said last night that it would open the lion's share of its web-site functions to the masses, beginning Wednesday eliminating its paid TimesSelect service, which charged a fee for certain online access. The TimesSelect feature was introduced 2 years ago at a fee of $7.95 per month or $49.95 per year but revenue has been unexceptional. The publisher believes that ad sales for the now-free features will exceed revenue being pulled from subscription fees. The most recent numbers had 227,000 paid subscribers to TimeSelect, generating $10 million in annual subscription revenue. Advertising revenue is expected to far exceed that, according to the Times' senior vice president.
NYT shares are modestly higher in today's trading, but the stock's long-term trend is definitely toward the southeast. The stock has been spiraling lower for more than 3 years, losing about 60% of its value since early 2004, when it failed (after many tries) to overcome chart resistance at the 50 level. In yesterday's trading, the stock tagged a new 52-week low.
Short sellers have taken an interest in the stock, resulting in a short-interest ratio of 13.7 days to cover. Additionally, almost 17% of the equity's available float has been sold short. But with price action continuing to sag, it's unlikely that the bears will collectively beat a hasty retreat to the exits.