News Corp (NYSE: NWS) is expanding its online pay efforts in the U.S. Two of the eight newspaper publishers in the Dow Jones Local Media Group will start charging for at least partial access to their respective websites next year. The two newspaper groups, Massachusetts’ SouthCoast Media Group, publisher of The Standard-Times and its news site, SouthCoastToday.com, and the San Joaquin Media Group, publisher of The Record local paper and website in Stockton, CA., will roll out the online subscriptions starting Jan. 12.
The changes come in the wake of Rupert Murdoch’s declaration that his newspapers will start charging for access to online content. However, the introduction of paywalls at the two local newspaper sites is not part of a company directive, said Howard Hoffman, spokesman for the DJLMG. The eight individual DJ newspaper groups will decide among themselves whether paywalls fit their particular markets over the next few months, Hoffman told paidContent.
In news stories on their respective sites, the newspapers told readers what they can expect online after their Jan. 12 paywalls go into effect.
— SouthCoastToday: The site will have a variety of different subscription plans, with an “all-access” rate of $4.60 per week. In addition to a daily subscription to The Standard-Times print edition, the all-access plan will make all digital content available to its subs, both PC and mobile, as well as text alerts and e-mail. All-access readers also receive a new electronic edition of the newspaper.
A grid mapping out the various levels of access is available here. In terms of free content, registered members can view a total of 10 articles and videos from SouthCoastToday per month. Unregistered users can only access three items per month. About the only items remaining completely free are blogs/calendars, weather, business directory, classified ads, games/puzzles, and site searches.
— Recordnet.com: There are five levels of access to the Recordnet.com’s paywall system. Like its Massachusetts’ sibling, the California paper will let users get three free visits per month. Its all-access subscription starts at $2.67 per week for new subs only. For existing print subscribers, unlimited online access will cost an additional 77 cents per week. The available free content is similar to SouthCoast’s deal, except it also promises that national and international coverage will remain open to all visitors.