Newspaper Association of America shows new trends in paywalls

Stack Of Newspapers On Table

The Newspaper Association of America recently examined 156 newspapers that have enacted some kind of paywall on their website. The data itself is for members only, but the NAA gave us a look. A few stats:

  • Metered paywalls are the most common, with 87 percent of newspapers allowing readers access to a certain number of articles before requiring a digital subscription. The blog Ebyline, which really dug into the data, notes that the average number of articles allowed before the paywall is 11.2.
  • Free digital access for print subscribers is not a given. Just 53 percent of the papers give print subscribers free digital access, with the rest offering print subscribers a discounted rate.
  • Of the paywalled papers included, six percent have a circulation over 250,000; four percent have a circulation between 150,000 and 250,000; and 89 percent have a circulation under 150,000.
  • Ebyline has a great graph showing the pace of paywall adoption. It shows a major spike in paywalls in 2011, at around the time that the New York Times added its metered paywall, and adoption accelerating again through 2012.

Expect the trend to continue: McClatchy, publisher of 30 newspapers including the Kansas City Star and Miami Herald, announced during its second-quarter earnings report last week that it will roll out metered paywalls on all of its papers’ websites by the end of this year.

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