SUCCESS IN charging users to view a newspaper's content online has not only benefited many American newspapers, but also some north of the border.
Canada's Globe and Mail went to a metered paywall system on October 22, 2012 where readers can access 10 articles before being required to pay. However, there is still some free content, as well as 'niche' content, that utilises a modified metered system.
When quizzed for the reason behind the move, Editor-in-Chief John Stackhouse, in an interview on the company's website, said people were willing to pay for quality content across the digital universe.
This included newspapers, and in his opinion, the initiative was working. Stackhouse said he felt the new format would give customers better journalism, customisation options, and an overall better environment to consume the product.
He noted the company's newsroom was always becoming more digitised, but the paywall would force them to be more active and allow them to better cater to their readers' desires.
Over a year later, Stackhouse is reporting success. In an article on journalism.co.uk, it noted the company now has more digital than print readers, and some days has more mobile readers than desktop readers. Stackhouse said The Globe and Mail now has more than 90,000 subscribers, and "tens of thousands" of purely digital subscribers. Stackhouse said initially, there was a drop in traffic because of the wall, with a 40 per cent decrease as casual readers were pushed away, but the numbers were rising again. He said good journalism and the Globe and Mail personalities were driving readership.
Among the lessons learned, Stackhouse opined "take advantage of news," saying that by producing quality journalism around big news events the site has increased traffic and subscribers. He also said readers want personalisation tools, offering the ability to save stories, and for news alerts, so the Globe and Mail now offers such tools to subscribers.