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Mass. daily becomes first to charge

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by bob, Dec 23, 2009.

  1. bob

    bob Member


    As one commenter said about the New Bedford Standard Times pay-to-read strategy: "Good luck with that."
  2. BRoth

    BRoth Member

    Is it me or has GateHouse typically been more proactive with their papers in Massachusetts on things like this? I know that they did a lot of cleaning house at some of those papers a year or two ago and cut budgets for freelancing and staff coverage. I would assume this is a test for their other shops.
  3. crimsonace

    crimsonace Active Member

    Many of the smaller dailies in Central Indiana have gone subscriber-only. I know all of the ones in my old chain have been for years.
  4. Walter_Sobchak

    Walter_Sobchak Active Member

    The Ledger, where this story appeared, is a Gatehouse paper. The Standard Times, which is the one charging, is not.
  5. BillyT

    BillyT Active Member

    The Westerly (RI) Sun has been doing this for a while, I believe.
  6. Den1983

    Den1983 Active Member

    My paper, too, has been doing this for awhile.
  7. golfnut8924

    golfnut8924 Guest

    I'm surprised that this is not more common. I still have yet to get a satisfactory answer about why papers don't charge for online.
  8. Gator

    Gator Well-Known Member

    For small community-driven dailies, this will become the norm.

    And I'm with you GN. Why would you give your product away? And why are people (especially those in this industry) so against paying for content? If you want to see your paper continue to sink with nothing but online advertising revenue coming in, fine. Enjoy unemployment.

    I'm not saying that charging for online content is going to put everyone in the penthouse, but it's something.
  9. Fredrick

    Fredrick Well-Known Member

    All these people in small communities who are addicted to local coverage of their teams would pay .25 or more to read a story on the teams they love. If you are a Packer fan, you will pay to read local takes on the Packers.
    There should be a system where if you read a story, it costs you a quarter. You pay through paypal or something to where you click, you pay.
    That would add up.
    If people don't want to read the stories, fine. Giving them away for free cheapens the product.

    People should also be charged a dime to post an anonymous comment. It should be free if the person puts his/her real name, verified through a credit card.

    Of course, people will find ways to share content and not pay.
    I'm not real high on readers these days.
  10. golfnut8924

    golfnut8924 Guest

    The only halfway feasible argument I've been able to come up with for giving it away is this ....

    If you charge people to view the website, it decreases the value of the ads. If it's free to visit the site, the ads are valued much higher.

    Example: If you have 1,000 subscribers, any ads on there can only reach 1,000 people, therefore the ads are not worth as much. But if it's a free site, than in theory, your ads can reach anyone with a computer. So the newspaper can charge more for ads if it's a free site because they are worth more.

    So the newspaper figures they will make more money off of the higher ad prices than they will off of subscription sales. That part is debatable.

    In terms of national news, people don't need to pay because they can go to any national news site and get it for free. But if they want to read about the local football team or read about last night's school board meeting, your website is their only option. Therefore, they either pay to read about it or they don't read it at all.

    So maybe the answer is giving away the national news for free and thereby selling ads at the higher "unlimited viewer" rate. Then charge for reading the local section and sell those ads at a lower "limited viewer" rate.

    Just one guy's idea.

    For those of you who posted above about newspapers that have been charging for a while now, has it been successful?
  11. Ice9

    Ice9 Active Member

    The Daily Hampshire Gazette (Northampton) and The Gardner News (Gardner) charge, have been for quite a while, and they're six days a week. So yeah, technically New Bedford's the first daily in Mass. to do so.
  12. sgreenwell

    sgreenwell Well-Known Member

    Somewhat. Two or three months ago, we switched around the priorities a bit; in the past, the most important stories of the day would normally be free on the web. Now, it's generally an important story, a feature, and the rest behind a pay wall. Sports has always been 50/50 free and pay, I believe.

    The Newport Daily News (RI) went behind a really restrictive pay well in the summer; the publisher was interviewed by AJR about it. They charge more for the online paper than the print edition.
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