San Francisco Chronicle launches paywalled site with ‘premium’ content

San Francisco Chronicle | CNET
The San Francisco Chronicle has debuted a new site, SFChronicle.com, which will offer “premium” content that’s different from the content on the Chronicle’s main website, SFGate.com. The Chronicle, which launched the new site on Saturday, explained what the premium content entails:

Premium stories and columns will update and change with the news throughout the day. Subscribers also will have full access to the Chronicle’s most enduring legacy — its columnists. The list of premium content goes on, including the Chronicle’s award-winning coverage of sports and the outdoors, the arts and cultural events, pop music and entertainment, architecture and urban design, the environment and climate change, business and technology, food and wine, health and fitness, politics and government, and editorials and op-ed pieces, plus all the other quality content and features found in your daily newspaper.

CNET lays out the subscription prices:

The lowest-priced subscription for all-digital content costs $12 per month — but readers can sign up to get the same online content, plus the Sunday edition of the newspaper delivered to their homes, for the exact same price. Digital access to SFChronicle.com plus Friday-Sunday delivery costs $3.60 per week, while access to the site in addition to Monday-Sunday delivery will set you back $5 per week. 

SFGate.com will remain free and will continue to feature breaking, local and national news.

The Chronicle model is similar to the one the Boston Globe launched in 2011; Boston.com is free, while BostonGlobe.com offers premium content for subscribers. Last week, The Washington Post announced it would be launching a “modest” paywall.

The 2013 State of the Media report, which came out last week, found that 33 percent of the 1,380 U.S. dailies “have started or announced plans for some kind of paid content subscription or paywall plan.”

In a piece about the report, Poynter’s Rick Edmonds said “digital subscriptions and print + digital bundles have been the industry’s biggest success story of the last several years.”

 

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  • Jeff Johnson

    There is a fundamental deception in the way The Chronicle has framed
    this change which this story repeats. The “premium” content on the new
    Chronicle website is the ENTIRE newspaper, not just special parts of it.
    The old SFGate website is still free, and appears to have the same
    stories, but all you get is a brief synopsis followed by a link to the
    pay-walled site. In effect, SFGate has become one big bait-and-switch.

    If they decide that they need to have a paywall now, that’s fine, but cut
    the weasel crap about doing us all a favor with “premium” content. Just
    be honest and tell us we have to pay.