Three More Papers Put Up Paywalls, With Some New Twists

Richmond Times-Dispatch

As more newspapers roll out paywalls, they are looking for new types of content and services to entice readers, and are also turning to new types of technology to power the payment platforms themselves.

New London, Conn.’s The Day is promoting its new paywall as a “membership program,” with benefits beyond online content. And the Southeast Missourian and Richmond Times-Dispatch appear to be the first two newspapers to use Google (NSDQ: GOOG) One Pass technology, which the company rolled out in February.

The Day, New London, CT. The paper is launching a “new membership program that will offer unlimited access to its website, theday.com, including its premium online and mobile content,” going into effect on September 14. Associated Press content will remain free; non-“members” can read 10 staff-written articles per month before the paywall kicks in, and non-subscribers also can’t comment. The program “ranges in price per month from $9.99 to $22.99 for top-of-the-line platinum service,” but it’s not clear what the different membership levels entail; the paper said it will “feature an eight-page ‘how to’ guide in its Sunday, Sept. 11, edition,” and I’ll follow up as well. (My guess is that this one is operated by Press+ but I will find out. The paywall is operated by Clickshare.) For now, here are the benefits outlined by the paper:

–Unlimited access to theday.com, including the ability to comment on articles and features.

–Full access to The Day’s extensive online archive, dating back to 1999.

–Free delivery of The Day’s electronic edition to email accounts or tablet devices, such as Apple’s iPad.

–Full access to all digital formats and services offered across The Day Publishing Co. platform.

–And enrollment in a new, and growing, member rewards program called The Day Passport, which features rewards, events and giveaways to local businesses, entertainment venues and cultural institutions including Mystic Aquarium, Garde Arts Center, Mohegan Sun and the Children’s Museum of Southeastern Connecticut.

Thanks to Poynter. for the tip.

–Google One Pass’s first newspaper partners: Southeast Missourian and Richmond Times Dispatch. As reported by Rob O’Regan at eMedia Vitals, Southeast Missourian publisher Rust Communications and Richmond Times Dispatch publisher Media General (NYSE: MEG) were among the partners Google One Pass announced at its launch. For web publications, Google One Pass is a competitor to Press+.

An online subscription to seMissourian.com costs $2.95 per month for print subscribers (bringing a total home-delivery-plus-digital subscription to $17.90 per month) and $7.95 per month for online-only access. Non-subscribers can read the homepage and section fronts for free, and can read “a specific number” of other articles for free each month (number not specified, but for me it was 12; I’ll update this post when I get the official figure). Articles accessed via external links (Facebook, Twitter, blogs, social media) and search engines doesn’t count toward the monthly limit.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch is doing something a bit different: Rather than adding a paywall across the site, it’s testing one on a premium content package of Civil War coverage. The package includes a blog called “Behind the Lines,” pages from the paper’s Civil War-era archives, maps, videos, slideshows and other coverage. Subscribers can purchase a “premium content” subscription for $1.99 per month or $19.99 per year; it is unclear how many more premium content packages on other topics will be added, or when–and it’s not immediately obvious from the website what a $19.99 yearly subscription would get you beyond the Civil War coverage; I’ve reached out to the Times-Dispatch and will update this post when I hear back.

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