AdAge.com will significantly limit free access to articles on its website later this week, when it institutes a metered paywall. Starting Wednesday, non-subscribers will be able to access up to three stories in a given 24-hour period, according to a tweet by AdAge staffer Michael Learmonth. That’s a change from the previous policy, which allowed free access to most articles on the site for a period of seven days after being posted. After that, items then went into the archives, which were available only to subscribers.
The Crain Communications-owned AdAge has tended to employ a tiered-subscription system. For example, digital-only subs paid $79 a year an e-paper version of the print mag and have access to the entire website. The premium package, which includes mail delivery of the weekly trade pub and full online access, also includes use of the site’s Data Center as well.
In contrast, articles on rival sites Adweek/Mediaweek/Brandweek remain for for up to 60 days, after that it goes behind the subscription wall. At the moment, those b2b mag sites, which are owned by E 5 Global Media, do not plan to change the paywall structure, sources said.
This the first major change AdAge gone through since Jonah Bloom departed as executive editor to become CEO and editor-in-chief of b2b blog network Breaking Media and was succeeded by the mag’s digital editor Abbey Klaassen.
Updated: In an e-mail to paidContent, Klaassen said the benefit of this new metered model will be two-fold. “Firstly, our current model does not give our most voracious readers — the ones who rely on Ad Age content to do their jobs better — any reason to subscribe unless they want the actual paper every week. But as you and I know, people want news, analysis, and insight in a variety of formats, so why shouldn’t our subscription models evolve to accommodate that? Our staff of experienced reporters, editors and researchers work hard to deliver content that we believe is business intelligence and this is just us putting our money where our mouths are.
“Secondly, I think this will help us in the currency of conversation because our content, no matter how old it is, won’t go behind a paywall,” Klaassen continued. “So if you want to link to Jack Neff’s in-depth interview of the chairman and CEO of the world’s largest ad spender, which we ran in January (P&G CEO Bob McDonald on Why Size Doesn’t Matter), you now can.”
Klaassen added that the mag’s subscription prices have “changed to reflect this notion of subscribing to our content no matter what form it comes in,” with the only exceptions being the premium products, which have always operated as paid content: Ad Age DataCenter, Ad Age China and white papers.