The papers will initially charge 99 cents a month for full access to their sites and iPad apps. Afterward, it will cost $7.95/month or $79.50/year for the Vancouver papers. The Citizen will charge $9.95/month or $99.50/year.
Anyone who doesn’t pay will still be able to read breaking news on each paper’s site, but will be limited to 15 non-breaking news articles each month.
Print subscribers will have full access to all of the paper’s digital products.
A membership to one paper won’t provide readers with access to the chain’s other papers – they would need to buy another subscription for each paper they want to access online. …
The National Post will only ask for money from international visitors to its website – it will offer access for 99 cents for the first month, and then $9.95/month afterward. This international model will also be applied to the Gazette in Montreal, which already has a metered paywall for domestic readers.
Interestingly, Canada.com, Postmedia’s portal for its news and related properties, doesn’t seem to be subjected to a paywall at this point. I’m presuming if you click through to local news, it will count on the meter.
This model of a metered paywall, pioneered by the New York Times, has seemingly become the standard.
The Globe and Mail, which plans to roll out its own digital subscription plan this fall, announced new jobs Tuesday for some of its top editors as part of a reorganization towards that goal.
In Postmedia’s case, the attempt to raise digital revenues will be matched by by draconian cost-cutting — $120 million over three years. That represents about one-third of expenses, according to a recent Globe article.
Mr. Godfrey (Paul, chief executive of Postmedia Network Inc.) has given up on the idea that the money that left the newspaper industry is ever coming back – one U.S. study has suggested that for every $7 newspapers are losing in print advertising sales, they are only picking up $1 in online revenue – and he’s trying to hack at the business until the books balance, without actually ruining his newspapers.
“People buy newspapers for the editorial product and you have to have compelling content at all times or people will abandon you,” he says. “That’s what happened at a lot of the American papers – they cheated on content and look where they are now.”
Some of Godfrey’s major moves include selling off the Postmedia building on Don Mills Road in Toronto and centralizing copy editing and page layout at a centre in Hamilton. About one-third of the Calgary Herald’s newsroom staff lost their jobs in a related downsizing.
Globe journalist Stephen Ladurantye posed the following to Godfrey:
When I ask how he could possibly produce a better product with fewer journalists in the building, he changes the subject to focus on the money the company will save by cutting copy editors and page designers from its 10 newsrooms.
Aren’t local copy editors better versed in local markets? Wouldn’t local editors be better able to decide which international stories would appeal to local readers?
“Yeah, they would,” he finally says, throwing his arms up theatrically. “It’s not that we want to do this. We have to do this.”
The road ahead isn’t likely to get easier for Mr. Godfrey or his employees. He’s convinced the cuts have to be made – “in the next three years, print revenue will decline more than digital is going to increase” – and he’s willing to concede some Canadian papers (not his own, of course) may not make it through to 2015.
Postmedia bears close watching as it has become an adherent of the digital-first philosophy. It owns some of Canada’s best metro papers, so let’s hope these series of painful measures result in economically sustainable news organizations.