NY Times Paywall Enters ‘Final Testing Phase,’ Will ‘Launch Shortly’

Times Co. president Janet Robinson updates investors ahead of conference appearance

The New York Times announced on Wednesday that its long-awaited paywall is almost here.

"The pay model for NYTimes.com is in the final testing phase, and we expect it will launch shortly," Janet Robinson, president and chief executive of the Times Company, said in a statement released ahead of a scheduled presentation at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference.

Still, no word on pricing, which Robinson and co. had promised closer to the launch. The Times first announced plans for the "metered model" in January 2010. The company has never specified a launch date, saying only it would roll out in "early 2011."

In her statement, Robinson also updated the company's outlook:

"The improvement in print advertising trends that we began to see in late January continued into February, and we finished the month with print advertising revenues down in the low-single digits. Similar to January, digital advertising revenues in February were up in the mid-single digits, as solid growth at the News Media Group was partially offset by softness at the About Group.

"We continue to expect circulation revenues in the first quarter to decrease in line with the declines we experienced in the second half of 2010. While we continue to aggressively manage our costs, we expect operating expenses in the first quarter to increase 1 to 2 percent mainly due to higher newsprint prices, pension expense and promotion costs."