By Steve Byers
The most interesting part of a nifty chart that PaidContent.org offers to the content of America’s six fairly large newspapers to have erected (or ready to erect) pay walls is the case of the smallest paper listed, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. The paper of roughly 171,000 subscribers never went free online but offers the online version free to all print subscribers. It claims to have held its circulation with readers continuing to buy the print edition.
There are more than six American newspapers with paywalls – if you count those like the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel with part of its content walled off (‘Packers Plus’ in the JS‘s case; it’s very successful).
As you would expect, models of the marketing plans range all over the place with differences from price ($1.48 to $5 a week) to free for print subscribers (5 of 6) to what’s free and what’s behind the wall. I think we’re going to see a real rush of struggling content providers moving to some form of pay wall, despite the naysayers out there.
Steve Byers is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Journalism at Marquette University’s Diederich College of Communication.