Newspapers are in a difficult place these days, and this statement from New York Times CEO Mark Thompson is one example of the difficulties of running a newspaper in the digital age. “No one who refuses to contribute to the creation of high quality journalism has the right to consume it,” Mr. Thompson said in a statement to the press. However, in the digital age, it seems that less and less people agree with this sentiment. Consumers don’t want to pay for content, which has lead to a rise of internet advertising to generate revenue. Consumers also resist this advertisement, and often install advertisement blocking software. This is the source of the conflict.
The website of the New York Times can recognize when readers are using advertisement blocking software, and an alert pops up on the user’s screen, which prompts them to either allow advertisements or have a paying subscription to the newspaper. In terms of overall traffic to the New York Times website, less than 3% of users have a paid subscription. As such, the company is hurting for this advertising revenue, and is not taking kindly to users trying to avoid it. Presently, users with Adblock technology have been able to bypass this notice compelling them to pay or watch ads, but the New York Times is toying with the idea of removing this option, and forcing users to pay or watch.