LA Times Going the Paywall Route

Via The Wrap:  L.A. Times to Put Up Its Paywall March 5

As TheWrap reported at the time, the daily paper will institute a metered paywall whereby online readers can access up to 15 stories a month for free. After that they will need to buy a subscription or lose access.

The subscription plan — which the paper is referring to as a membership program — will take effect on March 5 with an introductory rate of 99 cents a month. After the 99 cents for the first four weeks, the digital-only rate will rise to $3.99 a week. Other packages will be offered, including $1.99 a week for unlimited digital access and the Sunday newspaper.  Online access will be included at no extra charge for print subscribers.

This sounds roughly like the NYT‘s system (i.e., some articles for free).

I remain skeptical of such plans as they seem to assume that they are there enough people who currently are both not subscribers and who need more than 15 stories a month to make this move profitable.   Is this likely?

I tend to view paywalls as desperation moves for a print industry that is unable to figure out how to adapt to the digital era.

FILED UNDER: Media, Quick Takes
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. Ron Beasley says:

    Is there still an LA Times?

  2. DC Loser says:

    With the NYT, all you need to do is to go on their site and not log in and delete their cookies to reset the number of articles downloaded count.

  3. I mentioned in a Tweet earlier that I think the only way the pay wall will work is if most or all major papers do this at the same time. It would probably qualify as collusion, but I don’t see how else it can work.

  4. James Joyner says:

    As I understand it, both the NYT and the London Times have made tremendous amounts of money with their paywalls. This, despite the NYT not only offering 30 free articles a month per IP address but there being dozens of known, easy ways around (notably: deleting everything after html in the URL).

  5. @James Joyner: Intriguing. I am surprised.

  6. I must say I’m surprised as well. I hope they do because somebody has to pay for all the reporting.

    I read a long time ago that the news divisions at the broadcast networks were traditionally money losers and the losses were covered by the rest of the operations. I’m not sure if it’s true, but if it is, the newspapers don’t have that sort of back up at the moment.

  7. Incidentally, I could be remembering wrong or I could be remembering a line of dialogue from a movie like Network.

  8. Just nutha' ig'rant cracker says:

    Is it possible that y’all are looking at the wrong end of the transaction? The Korea Times did a similar offer a year or so ago–for the purpose of boosting print subscriptioins by offering free online service. Hmmmm…….