Monday, April 26, 2010

Worcester Telegram is raise its paywall this summer; paid print subscribers will continue to get free access; metered approach for other web users

The New York Times Company owned Worchester Telegram & Gazette announced yesterday that it will raise its paywall this summer, allowing its paid print subscribers to continue to have full access to its website, while creating a metered paywall for all other website users.
In the Sunday column penned by Jacqueline Reis, the paper said that pricing and "threshold" (that point in which the user must start paying for access) had yet to be determined. The paper promises to keep breaking news, wire service stories, obituaries, classified ads, local blogs, photo galleries and videos free. (Which leaves what? Columns? This sounds like the failed Times Select approach, doesn't it?)

“We view this as a way to recognize the value of local news and expect the traffic will continue on the site, because so much of what we're offering … is free and not blocked by anything,” Publisher Bruce Gaultney is quoted as stating.

The Massachusetts newspaper had previously charged for web access from July 2002 to July 2006 before giving up on the experiment. Gaultney claims that the new metered paywall was not the result of pressure from the parent company.

The newspaper claimed it had more than 800,000 unique users in March. Print circulation stands at 71,000 daily and 81,000 on Sunday. The paper does not appear to offer any mobile apps at this point.