Paywalls at Newspapers and Museums

is the meter running?

Felix Salmon investigates how newspaper paywalls are evolving: In the early days of paywalls, some content was free, while other content you needed to pay for; the meter, in theory, replaced that system with one where the determination as to whether an article was free or not was a function of how many other articles the reader had read, rather than being a function of the content of the article itself. But this is a bit simplistic:  [I]t’s a mistake — at least from a purely financial perspective — to treat all readers equally. Some readers … [Read more...]

About those museum prices

we get letters

My post staking a claim that $25 to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art was not expensive generated some comments. There are two issues at play here, not entirely separable: first, that compared to other genres of art, high and low, $25 to see what is one of the world's greatest collections of art is not widely at odds with what one pays elsewhere, and in fact might even be somewhat less, and, second, regardless of the price compared to other genres, ought the Museum to charge a price as high as $25? The focus of my post was on the first … [Read more...]

Museums are not expensive

a bargain!

New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art is being sued for strongly suggesting that its "recommended" donation for entry is in fact required of visitors. Associated Press reports: 'The museum was designed to be open to everyone, without regard to their financial circumstances,' said Arnold Weiss, one of two attorneys who filed the lawsuit on behalf of three museum-goers, a New Yorker and two tourists from the Czech Republic. 'But instead, the museum has been converted into an elite tourist attraction.' In the New York Daily News, James Panero … [Read more...]

Why does the Indianapolis Museum of Art have Free Admission?

free love

Preamble: I know what I don't know. Specifically, when looking at any arts organization and its menu of prices, I do not have insider knowledge of its current or potential audience, its donors, or its costs. So when I comment on the price structure of any specific museum or other arts firm, I do so only by asking questions, not by advising what it should or should not change. And with that cleared up ... Why does the Indianapolis Museum of Art have free admission? In her neighboring blog, Judith Dobrzynski describes the fiscal troubles at … [Read more...]

Museums, Amusement Parks and Cable TV

"Zero marginal cost, you say?"

Should museums charge visitors according to the length of their visit?  In a recent paper Bruno Frey and Lasse Steiner argue they should. We pay per hour when we park our cars, so why not when we go to view art? This question came to mind during the recent flare up over the pricing of cable television. Yes, cable television and art museums (and amusement parks!) have something in common. Those of you who subscribe to cable television know that even the most basic package contains a lot of channels, many of which you never intend to watch. … [Read more...]