A few answers have started to emerge about the effect of paid online content, said The New York Times yesterday. The paper looked at what it describes as "Steven Brill's Journalism Online experiment:" a service that allows newspapers to develop a tailored paid model and, for example, charge more frequent readers to read online while allowing occasional visitors free access.
Journalism Online, whose system is called Press+ has worked with about two dozen local small and medium size papers, the New York Times said, and analysis on its preliminary data suggests that advertising revenue did not decline and monthly unique visits only fell by up to 7% following the introduction of a paid online model. Page views fell by up to 20%.
"Newspapers found success with a pay model by setting a conservative limit for the number of articles visitors could read free each month, and by making clear that most readers would not be affected," the New York Times said. Brill, co-founder of the initiative, said that most papers set a limit of 5-20 free articles per month and charged monthly subscription fees of around $3.95 to $10.95.