PEEKING BEHIND THE WALL: The pay wall for will launch sometime early next year, but just how much will it cost?

Though New York Times Co. executives are remaining quiet about pricing and launch date, they offered a few more details on Tuesday morning at the UBS Annual Global Media and Communications Conference. “You can look at our digital products now and how it’s priced for some way to begin to think about it,” said Scott Heekin-Canedy, president of The New York Times. “For example, the Kindle, the Times Reader and other such products are priced at $19.99 per month.”

This story first appeared in the December 8, 2010 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

If the Times pay model does cost that much — which translates to about $240 a year — that would be quite a bit steeper than most in the media world had predicted.

The Times believes it can maintain its already strong revenue from digital advertising since a metered pay wall will allow for a steady readership and a “first click free” approach. This means readers, who find a Times story on Facebook, on blogs or on Twitter, will be able to read the story without immediately triggering the pay wall. The metered model, which the Times has been thinking about for at least 18 months, allows a certain number of clicks on before a reader hits a wall and has to pay up to read more.

Times Co. chief executive officer Janet Robinson said the pay model would launch sometime in the first quarter next year and called the pay strategy a “milestone for our company.”

“We have done an enormous amount of analysis leading up to this launch, we are very prepared and our confidence is very high,” she said. — John Koblin

HOLIDAY CHEER — SORT OF: There are certain black-letter days in the life of the average office worker, but for many it is the annual holiday party that inspires the most dread, for the forced conviviality and canned holiday cheer. The recession had wiped out this ritual throughout the media world — but now, two years later, the holiday party is back (at least for some).

So where are they heading?

Rivals Elle and Vogue have chosen The Standard’s pricy hot spots, Le Bain and The Rooftop, respectively. Le Bain is known for its hot tub, which makes the party all the more intriguing. W’s staff will gather at The Lamb’s Club; Lucky’s crew will drink at Scottish gastropub Highlands in the West Village; Allure is at the Kenmare, and GQ is taking over Don Hill’s.

The Atlantic will head uptown to “tequila library” La Biblioteca, while Glamour will gather once again at Cindi Leive’s home in Brooklyn. Details is planning a return to the “Roaring Twenties” at The Blind Barber (it seems appropriate at this point to mention that WWD is returning to the Sixties with a “Mad Men”-themed party on Friday, one floor up from its office at 750 Third Avenue). The New Yorker — way ahead of the pack — got its celebration out of the way last week, at Paris Commune.

And while the party is back for the employees at Condé Nast and Time Inc., Hearst is again skipping the big event, and individual titles such as Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire and Town & Country have not planned formal celebrations, noted a spokesman. — Amy Wicks

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