Lincoln Sponsoring Free New York Times Access Through 2011

March 18, 2011
Do you read the news daily on NYTimes.com? If so, you could find yourself sponsored.

Lincoln, the luxury division of Ford Motor Company [NYSE: F], is paying for the subscriptions of about 200,000 online readers through the year. That's a value of about $150.

There's one major catch to the deal, though: You have to be selected; and the offer is only being extended to the heaviest users.

It's expected that about half, or 100,000, will accept the deal, which includes access to the smartphone and tablet apps.

"Our brand is one that has a lot of great news and a lot to say but isn't always heard, said Lincoln marketing communications manager Connie Fontaine, to Ad Age. "The Times did bring us this idea and we thought it was really relevant to the brand for a lot of reasons. The type of reader we'll be able to engage through this program is a thought leader."

Those who work in the media, follow the industry, or are daily consumers of information—like what you see here on High Gear Media sites—have been very curious as to how a gated system would work.

"The change will primarily affect those who are heavy consumers of the content on our Web site and on mobile applications," said the Times, in an announcement this week detailing how the system will work.

Through NYTimes.com, you can view 20 articles per month free of charge; viewing more than that will require that you have a digital subscription.

That said, if you find articles directly through Google, you'll have a limit of five articles per day.

One of the key exceptions—and the one that social-media experts will no doubt be following—is that sharing articles doesn't count toward your monthly total. "Readers who come to Times articles through links from search, blogs and social media like Facebook and Twitter will be able to read those articles, even if they have reached their monthly reading limit," said the Times, in a summary of how access work.

Beginning this week, The New York Times rolled out digital subscriptions to Canadian visitors, in a test prior to their U.S. launch on March 28.

Tell us what you think. Is this kind of visibility good for Lincoln? And is the Times' new subscription system smart, or a recipe for fewer visitors (and readers)?

[Ad Age]

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