News & Tech | Nieman
The Orange County Register is preparing to launch a metered paywall this year, News & Tech reports. New Register owner Aaron Kushner has made no secret of his plans to charge for online access to the paper, but stories about his stewardship so far have focused mostly on his “print-first” strategy — adding journalists, print editions and forging closer ties between community organizations and the printed newspaper.
To make money on those investments in an age of declining print advertising, Kushner needs to bring in more money from circulation, Ken Doctor wrote last week. The Register, he said, has to install a gate to retain readers who may balk at increased subscription prices:
Once [the price of a print sub] goes up, the Register’s subscribers will no longer have the choice of dropping their subscriptions in favor of free digital. That loophole will be closed — and that supports the higher prices.
Other newspapers are readying paywalls, using the same company as the Register, News & Tech reports, including The (Norfolk, Va.) Virginian-Pilot and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Related: The case for paywalls: Gannett gains while Digital First experiments (Poynter) | “I can’t work on theory alone. I have to try paywalls,” Digital First CEO John Paton writes (Digital First) | Orange County Register launches “We Are Here in the Service of Orange County” brand campaign