Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Gawker's Valleywag claims NYT turf war over iPad content pricing; old story, protect print or drive innovation

In a report late this afternoon (Tuesday), Gawker's Valleywag is reporting that there is a turf war brewing at the New York Times over pricing of its new iPad tablet content pricing.

According to the report, circulation management wants to price the upcoming tablet product at newspaper print levels, while the digital operations side want a lower price, more fitting to digital products.

(With all rumor based stories such as this, I recommend one take the news for its entertainment value first, news value second. )

The SVI states that "the dispute has apparently escalated all the way to the top of the Times Building, and top executives — presumably the same ones who secretly dined with Apple CEO Steve Jobs — are now debating which way to go.

Gawker's writer Ryan Tate expresses surprised at the level of bureaucratic infighting, stating the "even by the standards of the old-fashioned Times, it would be shockingly retrograde to charge such a huge sum for internet content to protect the fading print edition. It would also be self defeating, exploding the paper's best chance yet to charge readers for its digital product."

My guess is that Ryan Tate is not a newspaper veteran because anyone who has ever worked in a major metro paper would never be surprised by such a turf war. This is business-as-usual for the old media world -- and wars with the circulation department are often the worst.

My guess is that this will be resolved in favor of the interactive people. Any other result truly would be a scandal.

By the way, the conversation at MacRumors over the news is hilarious . . . and very instructive for old media folk who think there is sympathy for their print-centric thinking.