Times Select gets a paywall: here's what Tom Eaton thinks


Times Select gets a paywall: here's what Tom Eaton thinks

An appeal from one of our most popular columnists

Image: 123RF/Teerawut Masawat

From August 1, Times Select has been available to subscribers only, along with our brand-new mobile app in the Google Play store and Apple's App Store (and yes, the interactive crosswords are in the app too).  

Existing Sunday Times subscribers still have free access to Times Select (just register online with the same e-mail address so we can link your subscription), but other readers will have to subscribe to keep reading.

Among other benefits, subscribers can read daily columns from writers such as Justice Malala, Tony Leon, Andile Ndlovu, Jonathan Jansen, Darrel Bristow-Bovey, Wendy Knowler, Ranjeni Munusamy – and Tom Eaton, who posted the following message on his Facebook page this week.

A message from Tom Eaton

Gentle worthies of Facebook,

As those of you who read my columns will know, Times Select has been running a sort of metaphysical paywall for some time, whereby you needed to register to read Times Select but didn’t have to hand over any glittering doubloons or coupons or buttons or whatever it is people earn in the real world.

This arrangement has come to an end. From August 1, you will have to part with some non-metaphysical South African ronts to read all the excellently curated goodies on Times Select.

I know that this will be angry-making or sad-making to some of you who have, from time to time, explained to me why you don't want to pay for news and opinion online. To you I send fond wishes and say adieu.

For those splendid souls who are willing to pay, however, the news is very good indeed – because the cost of unlimited access to Times Select (and the Sunday Times website and e-edition) is R80 per month, or about R2.70 per day.

To those who are still undecided, let me not appeal to your reading taste or finances or willingness to make a concrete contribution to South African journalism, or even to your kind heart. Rather, let me appeal to you on behalf of my ego.

Every day, Times Select publishes about 30 bits of curated news and commentary. If you're paying R2.70 for those 30 items, that's 9 cents a pop.

Now, on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays, one of those items is written by me. And I would take it very hard indeed if you thought a column of mine was worth less than 9 cents. Very hard indeed.

So, do the right thing. Pay those 9 cents and tell your devoted columnist that everything is going to work out in the end.

Yours in the broad, sunlit uplands beyond the paywall,

Tom Eaton