Martin Nisenholtz, Sr. VP, Digital Operations, The New York Times is remarkably optimistic about the Times online presence. He says the site is very profitable and traffic is growing rapidly. About 9% of the audience drives 80% of the page views and those loyal users often take the paper copy as well. The rest of the traffic comes from search links and their task is to turn more of those casual users into “Package users”. RSS is only a modest distribution channel for them, as many users seem confused about RSS. It was clear that the digital properties of the Times, including About.com and Career Builder, which they own with a couple of other papers, will continue to represent a greater portion of the parent company revenues.
Nicholas Carr took on Jimmy Wales of Wikipedia on the same panel. Carr worries that a free encyclopedia (managed by 3 people) and written by a small core of users (unlike the conventional wisdom of thousands of contributors), makes the economics of a paid for encyclopedia impossible. Carr believes that the professional culture of “you get what you pay for” will perish. Jeff Jarvis then got up to say “this is the new world, get over it.”