Monday, March 18, 2013

The Washington Post confirms that it will launch a metered paywall this summer, launch new iPad app

The Washington Post made official what has, until now, been a badly kept secret, that the paper will launch a metered paywall for its newspaper website. Like other papers before it, the WaPo said that it was pursuing a me-too strategy following the launch of paywalls at the WSJ, NYT, Boston Globe and other papers. The metered paywall will launch "this summer."

"News consumers are savvy; they understand the high cost of a top-quality news gathering operation and the importance of maintaining the kind of in-depth reporting for which The Post is known," said the Post's publisher Katharine Weymouth in the paper's announcement. "Our digital package is a valuable one, and we are going to ask our readers to pay for it and help support our news gathering as they have done for many years with the print edition."

The newspaper also said it will launch a new iPad app that it believes will attract digital subscribers – but no details were announced.

The paper did not announce pricing, but said that its version of a metered paywall would be pretty porous, only asking those readers that access more than 20 articles a month to pay up. Print readers, of course, will be able to access the paper's website free of charge. The front page and classifieds will be available for all readers, as well.

The move will probably help its comment thread problems, as the website has become a home for trolls unwilling to pay for access to the NYT's digital editions. One reader, responding to the paywall news wrote that the WaPo's website had become a "destination and hangout for radical left-wing extremists whose mentality is, that they are "owed" everything free and shouldn't have to pay for anything."