OC Register, investing heavily in print, also readies paywall

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

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  • Rose25870

    The papers will hit the limit of those willing to subscribe and any bonanza they get will be termporary. When they hit that wall, then what? They can’t change the internet no matter how hard they try. BUT: If they were to succeed, we’d have an ignorant population that would be subject to control by the rich who can invent more ways to take away our freedoms than we can even imagine at any given time. Limit the news and pave the way for extremists to take over the country. Newpapers are abandoning their mission and reason for existing. The consequences for this country could be grave and dangerous unless we find ways to circumvent what they are attempting to do and get the news out anyway.

  • Rose25870

    Guess what. Scripts to break paywalls are hot on their heels, so, just let them try. We’re not fools.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kevin.houghton.716 Kevin Houghton

    I was a loyal subscriber for over 30 years. Yes 30 years. My subscription ended in december, I called to renew and was told the new owner is making tons of changes and the price will now be $449 for a 7 day delivery for a year. WTF! I said I have been loyal for many years, I want a discounted rate, the lady said that was the best offer. See you OC Register in the bankruptcy report soon, very soon.