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The Boston Globe might start charging for online content

The Boston Globe might start charging for online content

The Boston Globe might be on the verge of becoming one of a growing number of papers that ask readers to pay for online media. According to the Boston Business Journal, The Boston Globe may announce a plan by the end of the year to charge readers of online content in order to increase revenue.

"The Globe has paid apps out there. In regard to big picture, you're going to be seeing introduction of apps going in this quarter, in fact, in regard to Boston.com. But from a standpoint of evaluating what we plan on doing in regard to paid models, they are, that is under evaluation right now, in fact," said NYT Co. CEO Janet Robinson at a conference on Wednesday.

Martin Nisenholtz, NYT Co. senior vice president of digital operations, said the set-up will be that articles will be free "on a running 30-day basis" and after that, readers will be asked to subscribe to the online media, states the Boston Business Journal. So far, the date of this change has not been announced.

Robinson also said The Globe, as well as the Worcester Telegram & Gazette have made "very fine progress" since being evaluated for sale. However, the Times Co. has "moved to lower revenue expectations for the quarter that will end Sept. 30," according to the article.
"The Times said in its statement that revenue in Q3 2010 likely would be 2 or 3 percent below the year-ago figure. Since year-ago revenue for the third quarter was $571 million, the new guidance would put Q3 2010 revenue at between $554 million and $560 million," the article also states.

A statement by the Times Co. also said certain expenses made by the Globe would hurt its earnings and that New York Times shares were off by 48 cents on Wednesday during mid-afternoon. The New York Times has been working to "expand its audience on mobile gadgets like the iPad, where it also hopes to find both subscription and advertising revenue," said the Associated Press. The AP also said, according to the SFN Blog, that the company was "expecting a revenue decline of 5 percent in subscription and newsstand sales."

Other papers that have recently put up online paywalls include the Times of London, the News of the World, the Worchester Telegram & Gazette and the Business Design Web site of United Business Media.

The Times will not let anyone go past its home page without a subscription, the News of the World is charging online viewers £1 for one day and £1.99 for a subscription lasting four weeks as well as a paid iPad app charging a separate fee of £1.19 a week. According to the Guardian, this will be effective next month. The Worchester Telegram & Gazette lets readers look at 10 articles for free before it asks them to pay either $14.95 a month or $1 a day. Plus, United Business Media recently added a paywall to the Business Design site, BDOnline.co.uk. The site charges £69 a year for "premium" content while keeping breaking news, video content and newsletters free.

Will charging for online content be something more prominent for newspapers in the future? News organizations must find a way to increase their online revenue, but will charging readers drive them away? What sort of balance can they strike?

Sources: Boston Business Journal, Associated Press, Guardian, journalism.co.uk



Heather Holm


2010-09-24 13:22

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