Well, rushed off! or how are things going with newspaper sites that charge for access to content

Original author: Joseph Tartakoff
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The more actively the idea of ​​paid access to newspaper sites is discussed, the more attention is paid to how the Wall Street Journal or the Financial Times will behave . Meanwhile, some small newspapers are quietly introducing their own ideas in this regard. We contacted some of them to find out how much they are asking for access, and how the fees are going.

This is by no means an exhaustive list. But general conclusions can already be made. Our heroes are, as a rule, small newspapers, often village ones. A subscription to access a site is usually much cheaper than a subscription to a print version — an average of about 75% of the cost of a paper publication. The number of online subscribers is very small, less than 5%. And many editorial offices say that they began to take money for access to the site not for profit, but to save a paper subscription.

Newspaper: Daily Gazette
Place of publication: Schenectady, New York
Average purchase: 44,242
Pricing:an online subscription costs $ 2.95 per week, print subscribers pay $ 3.00 per week and for a small fee get unlimited access to the site and the electronic version. Blogs, news from the Associated Press, TV programs, photo galleries and hot news are publicly available for free.
When the fee was introduced: August 2009, although the newspaper began to take money even earlier for access to the electronic version.
Results: site traffic crashed by 40% in the first three weeks after entering paid access to some of the content, including obituaries. We were told about this by the managing editor Judy Patrick (Judy Patrick). “But,” she says, “paid subscription is slowly growing.” Now the newspaper has 670 online subscribers only.
Comment:This newspaper competes with neighboring Albany Times Union, which publishes all its content for free, but charges 75 cents for a digital copy of the paper version. It is still too early to draw conclusions about the affairs of a competitor.

Newspaper: Valley Morning Star
Place of publication: Harlingen, Texas
Average print run: 23294
Pricing:An online subscription costs 75 cents per day, or $ 3.95 per month, or $ 39.50 per year. Daily paper subscribers have free access to the electronic version. Subscribers of the publication "Saturday-Sunday" pay $ 3.16 per month for access to the site. Subscribers of the Sunday publication pay $ 3.56 per month for access to the site. Holiday programs, obituaries, Associated News Press, videos, blogs and announcements are published in the public domain.
When the fee was introduced: July 2009
Results: our interlocutor did not respond to the request, but since Morning Star started charging for something else in mid-June, another diary of the same Freedom Communications publisher, Lima News, followed suit. In addition, Morning Star website traffic rose slightly in July, according to Compete.
Comment: When announcing the innovation, Morning Star publisher Tyler Patton said: “Stopping the giveaway will add value to our loyal subscribers.” Keep in mind that this newspaper has no competitors in the city where it is published.

Newspaper: Newport Daily News
Place of publication: Newport, Rhode Island
Average purchase: 12,000
Pricing: an online subscription costs $ 5 / day, $ 10 / week, $ 35 / month, $ 345 / year. A mixed (print and online) subscription costs $ 11 / month or $ 100 / year. Obituaries, ads, blogs, and a copy of the editorial are available for free.
When introduced: June 2009
Results:Publisher Buck Sherman told us that the goal was to “get people back to print,” not to make money online. He also noted that so far “everything is working out for us”, adding that retail sales of the newspaper grew by 8%. Site traffic dropped by 30%, according to Compete.
Commentary: The model of this newspaper attracted media attention earlier this year because the fee it introduced for the electronic version was significantly higher than the paper one. The newspaper has almost no competitors, because the larger Providence Journal focuses more on covering the life of the entire state, rather than local realities.

Newspaper: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Place of publication: Little Rock, Ark
Average purchase: 182789
Pricing:An online subscription that includes access to the electronic version costs $ 5.95 / month or $ 59 / year. Paper subscribers get access to the site for free.
When the fee was introduced: 2002
Results: Publisher Walter Hussman told us that the newspaper introduced a site fee to boost sales of the paper version. Since the moment of innovation, sales volume has fallen by about 1%. Revenues from selling an online subscription are only $ 200,000 per year.
Comment: The newspaper is a monopolist in its market, it is the largest daily diary of the district level in the USA, taking fees for access to its website.

Newspaper: Albuquerque Journal
Place of publication: Albuquerque, New Mexico
Average purchase : 101810
Pricing: access to the site, including the electronic version of the newspaper, costs $ 110 / year or $ 38.25 / quarter. For $ 185 / year, the reader receives a paper version for this. Or $ 153 / year for delivering a newspaper to your home and access to the site.
When the board was introduced: 2001
Results:Donn Friedman, Assistant Editor-in-Chief, says that between 1,500 and 2,000 people pay extra money for accessing certain materials on the site. This number has been “fairly constant” for the past 8 years. “Every month, approximately 300 people stumble upon a notice on the site that further you need to pay for access in one form or another,” he said. Since the innovation, sales of the paper version have fallen by 6%. When we asked Don about success, he replied: “We remain committed to paper and believe that our content is valuable.”
Comment: The rival of this newspaper, the Albuquerque Tribune, closed last year, although the Journal continues to compete with the smaller staff. the newspaper Santa Fe New Mexican.

Newspaper: Bend Bulletin
Place of publication:Bend, Oregon
Average purchase : 32,682
Pricing: an online subscription costs $ 8 / month or $ 96 / year. Paper subscribers pay $ 11 / month or $ 132 / year and get free access to the site. The editors say that an average of 30 articles a day is published on the site in the public domain.
When the fee was introduced: 2005
Results: 1,200 online subscribers, according to new media director Jan Even.
Comment: The newspaper is a monopolist in its market.

Other newspapers that charge fees for accessing the site are: Tribune of Lewiston (Idaho), Idaho Press-Tribune (Nampa, Idaho) and Herald Times (Bloomington, Indiana). Got something to add?

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