New York Times cuts number of free articles on website

FILE PHOTO: People line up for taxi across the street from the New York Times head office in New York

FILE PHOTO: People line up for taxi across the street from the New York Times head office in New York, U.S., on February 7, 2013. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri/File Photo

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By Sheila Dang

(Reuters) - The New York Times on Friday reduced the number of free articles it will offer most non-subscribers to five from 10 in an effort to make more money from readers.

The change is aimed at increasing subscription revenue as readers flock to the website for news on topics like the administration or high-profile sexual harassment allegations, which have dominated the news cycle.

The publisher plans to move toward a more "dynamic paywall," said a Times spokeswoman on Friday. One strategy the Times is considering is offering a different number of free articles for non-paid readers based on how they arrive at the website, or based on their reading habits, she said.

By reducing the number of free articles, the Times is hoping to stay on its path of making more money from readers than advertising. Total ad revenue tumbled 9 percent from a year earlier in the third quarter.

While the importance of ad revenue may not disappear completely, it does not "run the show" at the Times anymore, said Executive Editor Dean Baquet while speaking at the Business Insider Ignition conference in New York on Thursday.

The Times had 3.5 million total subscriptions as of the third quarter, the most in its history, said Chief Executive Mark Thompson during an earnings call with investors. The company has a goal of eventually reaching 10 million subscribers.

The basic digital subscription for unlimited news articles costs $16 per month.

(Reporting by Sheila DangEditing by Sandra Maler)

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