Postmedia papers explain their paywalls
Four of Canada’s highest-profile newspapers threw the switch on paywalls Tuesday, asking their readers to pay for the content they are reading online.
By the end of the day The Ottawa Citizen, Vancouver Province, Vancouver Sun and National Post will all have caps on the number of articles readers can access per month before being asked to pay.
“You can’t spend millions of dollars on content and just give it away,” Postmedia Network Inc. chief executive officer Paul Godfrey said last week when discussing the chain’s plan to charge for online content. “Otherwise, you’re not going to stick around.”
Here are the memos from the paper’s editors explaining the move (the word cloud above was taken from these three memos).
For the past few years, the Ottawa Citizen and our parent company, Postmedia, have been investing heavily in our digital (online, tablet, smartphone) products. If readership is any indication, these investments have paid off — last month saw over 800,000 unique visitors to ottawacitizen.com, a 37-per-cent increase over the previous year.
But quality content is expensive to produce, which is why, starting today, non-print home delivery subscribers who want unlimited access to the Ottawa Citizen digital content will now pay a nominal fee. This new “metered” system will help generate revenue to invest in the insightful, award-winning print and digital journalism expected from the paper of record in the nation’s capital. (Note all non-subscribers do get 10 free digital articles per month).
All our print home delivery subscribers will receive free, unlimited access to ottawacitizen.com and to the Ottawa Citizen’s mobile and tablet apps. For readers who want a digital-only subscription, we are pleased to offer an introductory rate of just 99 cents for the first 30 days.
For non-subscribers, breaking news items and urgent local updates will still be available free of charge, while articles, videos, and photo galleries will count towards the limit of up to 10 free articles every 30 days. For more information about the new subscription bundles, go to ottawacitizen.com/subscribe.
We are committed to remaining an essential part of the lives of our readers. We hope you continue to recognize the value of the mix of political coverage, investigative journalism, local news and features provided by the Ottawa Citizen in our print and digital formats.
Publisher and Editor-in-Chief
With increasing economic pressure on media and the rising cost of gathering information, non-print subscribers who want unlimited access to The Vancouver Sun content online will now pay a nominal fee.
A growing number of major newspapers around the world, including the New York Times and London’s Times and Guardian, have adopted pay models for digital content. Today, The Sun follows suit.
This new “metered” system will help generate revenue to invest in the insightful, award-winning print and digital journalism expected from the biggest and best news team in Western Canada. We remain committed to investigative reporting and working to ensure transparency from governments and public agencies.
All our print subscribers will receive free, unlimited access to vancouversun.com and The Vancouver Sun’s mobile apps, included with delivery of their daily newspaper. Once registered, our customers can enjoy all digital content from any computer or mobile device, and join online conversations with journalists and other readers on a range of topics.
For readers who want a digital-only subscription, we are pleased to offer an introductory rate of just 99 cents for the first month. This provides unlimited access to vancouversun.com and Vancouver Sun apps from any smartphone or tablet. You, our readers, will continue to receive all the news, analysis, features, videos, photo galleries and other content from your favourite Sun journalists, as well as from other local, national and international sources.
Non-subscribers can still read our breaking news online, as well as up to 15 free articles every 30 days. An automatic message will appear on your screen when you have five free articles remaining, inviting you to subscribe. For more information about the digital access system, go to vancouversun.com/subscribe.
It is my hope vancouversun.com will continue to be a meeting place for readers to exchange ideas and participate in conversations aimed at making our community a better place.
This year we celebrate the 100th anniversary of The Vancouver Sun with more people reading us than ever before — thanks to our digital platforms.
About 1.7 million unique visitors read our website each month. Others access us on smartphones and tablets and, across all platforms, we generated more than 43 million page views in July alone.
We trust you will want to be a part of this, and continue to recognize the value provided in the breadth of in-depth journalism, local news and features found only in the pages of The Sun.
Harold Munro, Editor in Chief
The Internet has radically changed the way we do business at The Province. Instead of working toward a few print deadlines a day our reporters and editors now aim to serve readers anytime and anyplace through our website, tablet or smartphone apps.
We’ve enhanced our print offerings online with videos, podcasts and photo galleries. We host regular online chats. We encourage our readers to become part of the conversation through social media and by joining the debate under our stories.
Providing our journalism online has brought us bigger audiences. The latest Nadbank survey found The Province now reaches 912,300 people every week either through print or online. Print subscribers have always paid for our content. But until now, our online offerings have been free.
The truth is, good journalism isn’t free and we need to find a new business model to help pay for it. At The Province, we invest heavily in the excellent work our reporters, photographers, editors and columnists do each day.
Good journalism makes a difference to our communities. It spurs debate and sometimes leads to needed changes in government policies. In-depth projects such as Operation Phoenix and Boomerangst, which have won National Newspaper Awards and Jack Webster Awards in recent years, take months of hard work by many people. Our sports coverage is renowned.
Our print subscribers will continue to be able to read all our work in print, on our website, on their tablets and smartphones. But starting today, we will be offering digital subscriptions for those who prefer to get their news online.
We are introducing a metered model, which means readers will be asked to pay after reading 15 articles over a 30-day period. Access to our website’s home page and breaking news will continue to be free as will access to our extensive selection of blogs.
We are not the first newspaper to do this, and we won’t be the last. The Montreal Gazette and Times Colonist moved to a metered model last year. The Globe and Mail has announced it will begin to charge for digital content in the fall. Papers in Britain, along with The New York Times and Wall Street Journal are already charging for online content.
Here’s how our new “metered” model will work:
Print subscribers will have free unlimited access to all digital content. They will simply need to register for it.
Casual website users will continue to get breaking news free of charge. Visits to the home page will also continue to be free. Viewing full articles, photo galleries, videos and other features will count toward the monthly limit of free articles.
The cost of getting unlimited digital access through our website, tablet and phone apps will be 99 cents for the first 30 days. After that it will be $7.95 plus tax a month.
And finally, if you are a subscriber to the electronic replica of the daily newspaper, please note it will now be called our e-paper instead of digital edition.
We hope to continue serving you with our award-winning journalism whether you read us in print, on the web, through your tablet or your phone.