Online pay walls not deterring newspaper readers

Newspaper publishers are making inroads into the Internet market, with the public becoming more receptive to paying for news content, according to data compiled for the Newspaper Association of America. More

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Online pay walls not deterring newspaper readers

Posted 12/19/11

Newspaper publishers are making inroads into the Internet market, with the public becoming more receptive to paying for news content, according to data compiled for the Newspaper Association of America.

Traffic to newspaper websites has made significant gains over the last year despite an increased number of pay walls of varying forms at publications that include The Providence Journal and The Boston Globe. Average daily visits in September were 21 percent higher than a year ago and total visits by adults over 18 years old were up 20 percent. Unique visitors increased 9 percent and total page views rose 10 percent, according to data released by the newspaper association in October.

The data was tracked by comScore, an Internet-marketing research company that compiles statistics to study online trends.

The figures also showed inroads into key demographics. Newspaper websites are now reaching 58 percent of 18- to 34-year-olds, 62 percent of families and 75 percent of users earning more than $100,000.

Locally, The Journal and The Globe have launched new websites complete with pay walls, a feature neither had before. Each pay wall allows only for a headline and lead paragraph or two for users who are not subscribers. Globe management is hoping the format won’t deter those who only scan the headlines.

In October, The Globe launched an innovative system that provides a little of everything. A new website, bostonglobe.com was created as a subscription-only site. All content is behind a paywall with a subscription rate of $3.99 per week or $208 per year. “We have two brands for two different types of readers,” Christopher Mayer, publisher of The Boston Globe and president of The New England Media Group told Providence Business News.

“We recognize that there’s a growing willingness on behalf of the public to pay for news,” he said. “There are many different audiences out there and the new site provides a format for in-depth stories. Telling the news is valuable.”

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