A few weeks ago, the New York Times announced that they would start charging readers for online content in early 2011, and since then the million-dollar question has been: will it work? Will readers fork over the cash to keep reading the Times, or will they go elsewhere?

The main problem of this approach is that over the years of free access, the New York Times has trained its readers for years that the right price (or the Anchor) is $0 – and since this is the starting point it is very hard to change it.

So, should the New York Times give up?  The trick with anchoring is that although we are not willing to pay more for the same thing, we are willing to pay more for different things.  What this means is that one approach that the New York Times could take is to present us with a new experience so that we don’t associate it with the previous anchor, and are open to new pricing.

It’s a strategy that Starbucks founder Howard Shultz put to good effect. […]

The Times could try to take on a similar approach.

Read the entire post at predictablyirrational.com

Nice commentary on the NY Times pay wall from Mr. Ariely. While I agree with him in principle, media companies have really struggled to differentiate in ways that go beyond the quality and substance of the content, which we are already getting or free. If the NY Times can rollout something different enough for us to establish a new anchor, good for them. But I’m skeptical.

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