Ready, Fire, Aim! - Mihail's Public Blog: Newspapers start to consider fees for online access

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Newspapers start to consider fees for online access

According to this New York Times story (registration required), only one national newspaper (the Wall Street Journal which charges $79 for non-print subscribers) and some 40 smaller newspapers out of the 1456 daily newspapers charge for complete online access. Yet the New York Times is considering ways to generate revenue from its growing online readership which in the case of many newspapers is larger than their print circulation.

This migration of readers is beginning to transform the newspaper industry. Advertising revenue from online sites is booming and, while it accounts for only 2 percent or 3 percent of most newspapers' overall revenues, it is the fastest-growing source of revenue. And newspaper executives are watching anxiously as the number of online readers grows while the number of print readers declines.

...The New York Times on the Web, which is owned by The New York Times Company, has been considering charging for years and is expected to make an announcement soon about its plans. In January, The Times's Web site had 1.4 million unique daily visitors. Its daily print circulation averaged 1,124,000 in 2004, down from its peak daily circulation of 1,176,000 in 1993.

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