Cox Media Group will adopt pay meters instead of hard walls for the paid versions of its four newspaper sites this summer, says Mark Medici, its SVP of audience strategy. In addition, he says, the papers’ sites and those of its television stations are beginning to converge more “because digital is the great equalizer.” They are all share a central CMS, “so any innovation that’s driven [by] television can be adopted by newspapers. The great thing is having an enterprise CMS, there is a tremendous amount of collaboration in terms of driving innovation.”
WCPO, Cincinnati’s E.W. Scripps-owned ABC affiliate, will roll out a subscription plan in January that will put most of its original content behind a paywall. Weather, traffic and breaking news will remain free to all users.
Ken Doctor on some of the good news for the news business: “Digital circulation (aka a paywall strategy) is working and fast becoming the default among daily newspapers — from Tokyo, Singapore, and Sydney to Minneapolis, Boston, and Augusta to London, Madrid, and Helsinki. At the top end, right now, we can call it a 10% solution: That’s the kind of circulation revenue bump top publishers are seeing.”
Fox might not be the only broadcaster to begin restricting access to its shows online and requiring next-day viewers to be pay TV subscribers. Disney is also working out deals with distributors that would allow viewers to watch shows sooner if they log on with a cable ID.
According to a letter from Publisher Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, subscribers to the print version of the paper will continue to enjoy full access to the website. Those who don’t subscribe to print will hit the paywall after viewing 20 articles and be invited to become a digitial subscriber. However, readers who come to the website through links from search, blogs and social media will be able to read those articles, even if they have exceeded the monthly limit.