6 Comments

Summary:

Readers of MediaNews Group’s small- and medium-sized newspapers in California, Pennsylvania, New Mexico, Massachusetts and Vermont will pay…

Stack of newspapers
photo: Valerie Everett

Readers of MediaNews Group’s small- and medium-sized newspapers in California, Pennsylvania, New Mexico, Massachusetts and Vermont will pay for online content under a metered model starting today, even if they are print subscribers. MediaNews publishes 57 daily newspapers in 11 states; its larger newspapers remain free.

Readers at the 23 affected newspapers will be able to read five pages of editorial content for free each month before they’re required to subscribe. Print subscribers will pay $1.99 per month or $19.99 per year for online access, while non-print subscribers will pay $5.99 per month or $59.99 per year. MediaNews Group is using Press+ to run the subscriptions.

In addition to the five free pages, the newspapers’ home pages, classifieds, obituaries and announcements will remain free.

Other newspapers that have enacted digital subscription models recently, such as six Lee Enterprises (NYSE: LEE) papers and the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, allowed a larger amount of content to be read for free. The Lee papers offered 15 to 20 free page views each month, and always-free content included section fronts and blogs. The Star-Advertiser also kept section fronts and blogs free and is not charging print subscribers for online access.

The company does not currently plan to extend the metered paywall to its larger newspapers, such as the Salt Lake City Tribune or the Denver Post. There are already metered paywalls in effect at three other MNG papers, the Chico Enterprise-Record, York Daily Record and York Dispatch.

The following newspapers are affected by the new policy:

California
Daily Democrat (Woodland)
Lake County Record-Bee (Lakeport)
Red Bluff Daily News
Redlands Daily Facts
The Reporter (Vacaville)
Times-Herald (Vallejo)
Times-Standard (Eureka)
The Ukiah Daily Journal
Whittier Daily News

Massachusetts
North Adams Transcript
Sentinel & Enterprise (Fitchburg)

New Mexico
Alamogordo Daily News
The Carlsbad Current-Argus
Daily Times (Farmington)
Deming Headlight
Las Cruces Sun-News
Ruidoso News
Silver City Sun-News

Pennsylvania
Evening Sun (Hanover)
Lebanon Daily News
Public Opinion (Chambersburg)

Vermont
Bennington Banner
Brattleboro Reformer

You’re subscribed! If you like, you can update your settings

  1. Michael Rafferty Monday, August 15, 2011

    label this in the “dumb ideas” folder

    1. Just don’t read then Michael. Keep going to the lowest common denominator for your news of the world. You’ll be like the guy who says “I get all the food I need at McDonald’s”.

  2. They said the same paywalls wouldn’t work at the NY Times, Financial Times, Wall St. Journal and many smaller papers too Michael. Well guess what: they did.

    1. Bravo to Joe. two times.

  3. It’s a little too early to claim success, I’d say.  Two of those three examples are financial publications where a different mindset is at work.  The third is a huge paper with a lot of old readers, and they just started with this.  Let’s check back in a couple years and see if the entire thing isn’t filed in the “dumb ideas” folder.

    I’d also say that hammering your remaining print subscribers is a dumb idea in a dumb idea.

    The problem with this whole strategy is it is based on squeezing your best customers.  Yes, they will put up with the most for a while, but where will the new customers come from?

  4. I am from NM, and all the newspapers listed in NM are little pieces of junk.Even before this  pay as you go for internet, the content of their web newspapers were very limited, only select stories, and the stories on the web were edited for space.Let them do this, will backfire.

Comments have been disabled for this post