Newsday will join the slowly growing ranks of newspaper publishers that charge for access. Beginning next Wednesday, the Long Island daily will begin charging a $5 weekly fee for access to most of its content. Subscribers to the print edition or to owner Cablevision’s Optimum Online service will continue to get Newsday for free. A limited amount of Newsday coverage will still be free online, including the home page, school closings, weather, obituaries, classified and entertainment listings, but nearly everything else will go behind the paywall.
Newsday is keeping an open mind about the idea, saying it will listen to reader feedback and quickly adjust the free/paid mix accordingly. “If there is something that is of critical need for Long Islanders to be aware, we would give them access,” said Debby Krenek, managing editor and senior vice president/digital media. She added that the pay wall won’t be a major issue to local readers, since 75% of them subscribe to either the paper or Optimum Online already. Newsday said readers are taking the announcement in stride, but responses to its news story would indicate otherwise. Of 20 comments posted this morning, not a single one supports the paywall move.
Glynnis MacNicol performs an interesting non-scientific paywall-related experiment based upon comments on The New York Times’ coverage of its own layoffs. She notes that of the 502 comments on reporter Richard Perez-Pena’s blog entry about the news, nearly one-third offered to pay for access to Times content. Some said they had actually volunteered to pay in the past but were told they couldn’t. We’re going to take her word on the math.
The Boston Herald would like to charge for access to its website but says it probably won’t do so unless rival Globe does the same. The Globe says it’s unlikely to take that plunge. Any cooperation on that front between Boston’s only two dailies would undoubtedly invite government scrutiny.
Nearly half of all newspaper journalists believe their newsrooms are moving too slowly into the digital age, according to a report by Northwestern University’s Media Management Center (MMC). While the majority of the 3,800 respondents still work in print, only 6% were characterized as “Turn Back the Clock” journalists who wish digital would just go away. Half of the respondents would be happy to work in digital as much as in print and 12% are true digital enthusiasts. Surprisingly for an industry that’s experiencing so much turmoil, 77% said they’re satisfied with their jobs and two in three say they expect to be working in the news business two years from now.
It’s been a busy couple of weeks for the New York Times Co. Just one week after taking the Boston Globe off the market, the company announced plans to lay off 100 newsroom employees and a nearly 17% drop in third quarter revenue. The drop was driven by a 26.9% decline in advertising revenue. Circulation revenue actually rose 6.7%. The stock jumped, however, on a positive outlook by CEO Janet Robinson: “We have seen encouraging signs of improvement in the overall economy and in discussions with our advertisers,” she said.
“Content-sharing is now moving into its next phase by bringing stories online and looking at ways to share revenue,” writes Craig Silverman in a MediaShift article on a new round of agreements between major content providers. The trend began in Ohio last year, when a group of non-competitive newspapers started swapping articles for their next day’s edition. Similar informal consortia were later set up in Florida, Tennessee, New York and New Jersey. Now Bloomberg and the Washington Post have done a deal to create the Washington Post News Service With Bloomberg News. The novel part of the arrangement is a revenue-sharing agreement that will create a co-branded online business section on the Post‘s website in the first quarter of next year. The two companies will share ad revenue from the venture.
In addition, a group of members of the Associated Press Sports Editors will soon launch a federated content-sharing alliance. Members will be able to reprint each other’s stories without special permission, but online excerpts will be limited to 150 words with a link back to the original source. About 60 newspapers have expressed interest in joining the consortium, which plans to launch the service in November.
The Minneapolis Star Tribune is replacing its Saturday edition with one that could be called “Sunday light.” The edition will be delivered early on Sunday and will include the content that subscribers usually get in their Saturday edition plus Sunday’s comics and ad inserts. It will be priced at 50 cents, or the same price as the regular Saturday edition.
This entry was posted on Friday, October 23rd, 2009 at 3:27 pm and is filed under Business News, BusinessModel, Journalism, Layoffs, NewMedia, Newspapers, Solutions. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.