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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Westminster, CO
    Posts
    810

    Default Denver Post will implement metered paywall to their web site Dec. 2nd, charging $12 a month for full access

    From the Denver Post:

    Digital First Media, which manages Denver Post owner MediaNews Group, is adopting an all-access subscription model across all but one of its 75 daily newspapers.

    CEO John Paton announced the transition in a blog post Monday. "We need more gas in the tank if we are going to complete this journey of print-to-digital transformation," he wrote.

    The Post's all-access subscription model will roll out Dec. 2.

    Under the new system, nonsubscribers will have to pay for access to The Post's digital content after viewing 25 articles on the desktop website or 99 articles on mobile devices.

    Readers will be offered a 30-day digital trial for 99 cents.

    After the trial, plans will start at $11.99 a month for a digital-only subscription, which includes unlimited access to content on the Web and mobile apps as well as the digital replica edition. A seven-day-a-week print and digital all-access subscription will cost $5.50 a week for new customers. The Post also offers Wednesday-through-Sunday and Sunday-only print and digital subscriptions.

    "This is a strategy that, quite frankly, is a long time coming," Denver Post CEO Mac Tully said Monday. "We keep forcing our subscribers to pay more for content and turning around and giving it away for free to everybody else."

    Breaking news stories, classifieds, The Post's Media Center, obituaries, the DenverPost.com home page, section fronts and articles accessed via social networks such as Twitter will be placed outside the paywall, meaning they won't count toward a user's free monthly access limit.

    "Now, we have something to tell our subscribers about the value of their print subscription or their all-access subscription because not only do they get the print on the days they want it, they have access to all of our digital platforms on any device, any time they want it," said Bill Reynolds, senior vice president of circulation for The Post. "It becomes a valuable tool for us in retaining subscribers."

    The Pioneer Press in St. Paul, Minn. will become the first Digital First property to transition to the new model this week. The remainder of the chain's daily newspapers, except the Salt Lake Tribune, will roll out subscription packages through January.

    The all-access metered model will allow nonsubscribers a set number of free articles per month. Subscribers will receive access to print, digital and mobile content.

    Previously, content on most Digital First sites was available free. Individual papers within the company had experimented with paywalls and other revenue generators, such as asking consumers to fill out surveys before accessing content, but neither approach had the desired results.

    Surveys trimmed online traffic while traditional paywalls failed to generate significant revenue, Paton wrote.

    Paton has been a vocal critic of paywalls in the past, calling them "a stack of pennies" in an industry swapping print dollars for digital dimes.

    He said he still doesn't think subscription models hold all of the answers to the news industry's financial woes.

    "I do think long-term they can restrict audience growth, and that's something we'll have to be careful about," he said in an interview. Still, he sees them as "a good, strong business initiative" in the short-term.

    Paton said one of the reasons he held out for so long was that paywalls seemed too easy a solution to the digital media problem and one that could stymie innovation.

    Digital First Media is among the last of the major U.S. newspaper companies to shift to a subscription strategy. Gannett Co., the largest local news chain in the country, already has implemented a subscription model at all of its newspapers except for USA Today.

    "Paywalls are becoming the default for American newspapers," said Ken Doctor, a consultant whose work focuses on the transformation of the consumer media industry.

    Publishers find paywalls allow them to increase prices for print consumers, providing a revenue bump without significantly cutting subscription volume. "If you execute well, you can usually keep 85 percent plus of those readers in that new program and get a bump in new revenue," Doctor said.

    About 40 percent of American newspapers will require some type of payment for online content when the Digital First Media transition is complete, Doctor said.

    Though he did hold out longer than many of his peers, Paton said the power of subscription models can be hard to deny. "There are widgets to be sold, so I'm going to go sell them," he said.

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