YDR Insider

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Two pieces of YDR/YSN’s paywall experiment

Two newsroom discussions last week reveal various pieces about the controversial question:

Should news organizations charge readers for Web access to stories and photos, sometimes called online subscriptions, implemented through construction of a paywall?

In an update meeting on how our 3 1/2 month online subscriptions are faring, a journalist launched into this impassioned defense:

– The public has come to accept the paywall, or at least complaints are minimal.

– Our traffic has bottomed out and even showed upward growth toward historic levels in November.

– If too much traffic is lost, not enough pages are available to accommodate advertisers. But we’re far from at risk there and have not received any advertiser complaints.

– Our projected annual revenue would cover the cost of two multi-platform journalists. Those new resources would work to spin the flywheel of immediate content even faster.

So, what’s the concern?

That came from information from our parent company Digital First.

Digital First’s properties – which cover the MediaNews Group and Journal-Register news organization – rank about 16th among national news organization in Web traffic.

A goal – a very reasonable and reachable goal – is to crack the top 5. That depends on each news organization to accelerate growth in its web audience. The large numbers of visitors and the pages they access represent an enviable market for advertisers.

A paywall, such as in York and about 20 other MediaNews Group news organizations, represents a barrier for such growth.

That’s why we consider this paywall project an experiment.

Also of interest:

All paywall posts from the start.