Jay Rosen on Times Select

Jay Rosen on Times Select: ” My own questions start with this sentence in the corporate side?s press release, describing TimesSelect as ?a new product offering subscribers exclusive online access to the distinctive voices of the Op-Ed, Business, Metro and Sports columnists of The New York Times and the International Herald Tribune (IHT).?

The phrase ?exclusive online accesss? advertises two different goods. The first good is the work of the Times columnists themselves. The proposition that some will pay for that is hard to prove until you try, but it?s simple to understand. The second good being advertised is exclusivity. You, the lucky TimesSelect subscriber, have access to these voices. Others do not. The value proposition there is muddled. If we prize up-to-date information about petroleum markets, we might value it more?and pay a premium?if the news is exclusively available to paying customers; but do we value Nicholas D. Kristof?s column more if he?s an ?exclusive??”

Jay’s point is underscored by the fact other sites are carrying much of this content–free.