Minnesota’s largest newspaper, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, is launching a metered paywall on November 1. Starting that day, non-print subscribers who want to read more than 20 articles per month on the newspaper’s website or apps will have to pay.
The Star Tribune is charging an introductory rate of $0.99 per week for the first four weeks for full access to startribune.com and the mobile site and apps, MinnPost reports. The Star Tribune has not yet disclosed how much it will charge when the trial period ends, though I will update this post when I find out more. Also during the introductory period, Sunday-only print subscribers can add a digital subscription for $0.29 per week. Those who receive the print version of the paper on more than just Sunday get free access.
MinnPost reports that the paper’s politics and sports e-newsletters and a high school sports app will remain free, and headlines, classifieds, and photo and video galleries will always be free. Stories accessed via links from social networking sites, search engines and “other external sources” don’t count toward the 20-story limit.
The Star Tribune‘s weekly print circulation is 1.3 million, and it has about 7 million unique monthly visitors.
The Star Tribune first tried charging for content in 2002, when it launched “Purple Plus,” which offered exclusive Minnesota Vikings coverage for $29.95 per year. That effort attracted about 1,000 readers, and the Star-Tribune folded it. Seven years later came another effort to charge for premium Vikings content: “Access Vikings Premium,” for $5.95 per month and $19.95 per year. That content is now free to print subscribers and still an extra charge for non-subscribers. I’ve asked the Star-Tribune whether Access Vikings content will now be folded into the new digital subscriptions or will remain an extra charge.