The Boston Globe will join its sister paper The New York Times in charging for access to some online content beginning next year. The newspaper says that it is launching a new paid site, BostonGlobe.com, which will include “all news and feature stories, commentary, analysis, photographs, and graphics published in the daily and Sunday newspaper.” Non-print subscribers will have to pay an unspecified subscription fee to access it. The Globe‘s current site, Boston.com, will remain free, but will no longer feature the full content of the print newspaper and instead is being retooled to feature breaking news, weather, sports and entertainment guides. With the move, the Globe will become the second largest local newspaper in the U.S. to put up a paywall.
The Globe, which is owned by the New York Times Co. (NYSE: NYT), had repeatedly said it had no “immediate plans” to charge online users, but there were signs that the move was coming. In addition to the New York Times, which announced its plans to put up a paywall in January, sister paper Worcester Telegram & Gazette said in August that visitors to its site would only be able to access 10 articles a month before being asked to buy an online subscription for $14.95 per month. The Globe says it has not yet determined how much it will charge for access to the new BostonGlobe.com.
The paper says that the “two brands” model “appears” to be the first of its kind, although other newspaper publishers have added second online brands that are also less dependent on content from the print newspaper. The McClatchy-owned Miami Herald, for instance, relaunched its flagship Miami.com site two years ago as an entertainment guide but continues to put content from the print newspaper on MiamiHerald.com.
Globe Publisher Christopher Mayer tells his own paper that the newspaper’s two sites will allow the paper to cater to both “casual and occasional visitors” to Boston.com who want quick access to the paper’s stories, as well as “committed readers” who are more likely to read stories on the site written for the print newspaper. A glance at the current site, though, shows that a large percentage of Boston.com’s content is written primarily for the website, so it might be tough to convince even those “committed readers” that by only visiting Boston.com and not the new BostonGlobe.com they’re missing out on very much.