Here’s a roundup of this week’s news about paywalls.
The Houston Chronicle is adopting a new payment model for digital content: Its new HTML5 site, HoustonChronicle.com, requires a subscription, while a separate site, Chron.com, remains free. The Boston Globe enacted a similar model last September.
John T. O’Loughlin, president of the Houston Chronicle Media Group, explained the new system in a letter to readers:
The new site is a complement to Chron.com, not a replacement. On Chron.com, you’ll find information on breaking news, weather, traffic, pop culture and news-to-use, such as events listings and city guides. HoustonChronicle.com will offer deep analysis, enterprise reporting, exclusive photos, and the work of your favorite columnists in business, sports, education, city and state government, and arts and culture, plus everything found in your daily newspaper.
The newspaper is also launching the “Star Access Membership Program,” which is available to anyone who pays for HoustonChronicle.com. The membership includes benefits like a digital replica of the newspaper and “privileges at signature Houston Chronicle events,” discounts and special deals and giveaways.
Digital access starts at $9.95 per month. Any home delivery subscribers who already pay at least that amount per month automatically receive “Star Access,” or they can pay the difference to receive access.
Crain’s New York
Crain’s New York Business will add a metered paywall at crainsnewyork.com starting on December 10, 2012. Visitors can read up to ten articles free per month; after that, they must pay $57 a year for a digital subscription or $67 a year for a print-plus-digital subscription. Current print subscribers already have free digital access. The new model “satisfies the heavy website user’s need for deeper Crain’s content while leaving lighter users’ access to the site unaffected,” Jill Kaplan, VP and publisher, said.
Last month, Newsweek announced that it is going online-only; the magazine’s last print issue will be published on December 31, 2012. The new online edition, Newsweek Global, will require a subscription. In an interview with New York magazine, Newsweek and Daily Beast editor-in-chief Tina Brown said, “We’re looking very strongly now at this metered-access model…when you charge for every fourth or fifth piece that you get.”