First Journalism Online Meter Starts Ticking: LancasterOnline Obits

Pennsylvania’s LancasterOnline went live this morning with the first newspaper use of Journalism Online’s Press+ — metered out-of-town access to obits. The meter kicks in after an out-of-market user reads seven obits in one month; viewing more will cost $1.99 a month or $19.99 a year. [Slideshow.] The plans were outlined earlier this year with hopes for a spring launch but “it took a little longer to test and be satisfied with it than we thought,” Ernie Schreiber, the site’s editor of content development, told paidContent.

The Steinman Enterprises community effort may seem like a small project to larger outfits but it’s significant beyond being a test of Press+ technology. Instead of sinking money into a DIY effort, costs for the online site for the Intelligencer Journal-Lancaster New Era were limited to employee time, mostly Schrieber’s, so anything the company makes will be profit. The split in this case is 75-80 percent of net revenue, with Journalism Online getting 20-25 percent. Or as Schreiber puts it, “as long as we don