USA Today president: ‘No plan exists’ for paywall

The New York Post | Folio

USA Today President and Publisher Larry Kramer said at a panel in New York that the paper is “exploring” a paywall, Keith J. Kelly reports. Reached by email, Kramer told Poynter, “No plan exists. We’re studying it.”

Kramer also said the paper will remove its trademark white boxes from some locations, Kelly reports. It expects sales from such boxes to decline by about one-third after a planned price hike from $1 to $2 next Monday: “Most people are not going to have eight quarters in their pocket,” Kramer told the panel.

When USA Today launched, Mike Feinsilber wrote that it was “pinning its multi-million dollar hopes on a streetcorner vending machine that looks like a television set on a pedestal.”

A USA Today box in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton, File)

The box displays the paper a bit higher than most vending machines do, and it holds the front page at an angle, to call attention to itself.

“It smiles at you,” says [then circulation manager Frank] Vega.

The Nation is “finally testing different paywall strategies,” its audience development manager Katelyn Belyus writes in Folio.

Now, the majority of our new content will be paywalled for at least a day or two, as it’s released. Editors will gradually rotate all pieces in front of the paywall during the week, so that every single piece will get its chance to circulate for free.

If the plan doesn’t work, “we experiment with something new and try a different angle,” Belyus writes. “I promise you, it’s not in my interest to pour money into a continually failing strategy.”

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