Wednesday, April 2, 2014


The province's largest daily paper is implementing a pay wall.

Like many journals, newspapers and digital new agencies, The Telegram is hoping to recover some of the costs associated with producing digital content by charging viewers a fee to access content.

It is not really clear what content is and is not covered by the pay wall. Visitors will be able to access six news stories free every month but once that limit is reached viewers will be asked to pay $8 each month for future access to the stories.

I understand the business model and have been a digital subscriber to The Telegram since they began offering the service. Newspaper publishers have been struggling to survive in the digital age. I believe in media, and I want to see it survive

The stories and content found in The Telegram costs money to produce. The cost of producing that content is not diminished when the content is distributed online. Information is not free, there is a cost and if these papers are to survive they have to to successfully monetize their online content.

 The wholly advertising-supported model, where the news was just given away has not worked well for newspapers. They have been facing declining advertising and subscription revenue.

The Telegram joins publications like the New York Times, that developed a succesful pay-wall system that provided the casual reader 10 free online articles from the newspaper per month. The paper gained more than 350,000 readers when the pay wall went into effect, and the business continues to add subscribers at a 10% rate quarter-on-quarter.

Sure there will be lots of upset people, but they, like The Telegram, need to face up to the reality that news costs money to produce. It is all about revenue.

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