Seattle Times will install paywall next month

The Seattle Times |

The Seattle Times will begin a digital-subscription plan in March, Times Executive Editor David Boardman told readers in a column Sunday. The plan resembles The New York Times’ paywall — print subscribers will have full access to the Times’ site, and nonsubscribers will be able to access a limited number of articles before hitting the pay gate. There’s a digital-only deal for $3.99/week, or for the same price you can get the Sunday paper plus full access. “The reasons for this development are simple,” Boardman — a member of Poynter’s National Advisory Board — writes.

The economics of the news business, and of the newspaper industry in particular, have changed dramatically over the past decade. More people than ever are reading our content in print and digital formats, but our primary source of revenue — advertising — is declining locally and nationally and no longer supports our costs to the degree it once did.

Linda Thomas notes that comments from readers on Boardman’s column trend peevish.

Last March Hugo Kugiya assessed the online-only Seattle Post-Intelligencer, all that remains of the Times’ former competitor. ”It seems to be a site trying to do things on the cheap but with no clear mission” former P-I reporter Kery Murakami told Kugiya.

Related: How the Seattle Times made an iPad book from its best photos of the year | What’s left of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer? | How Is Seattle P-I Doing, One Year Later? | New Strategy: ‘Experiment a Lot, Fail Fast’

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  • coren

    If it was “more than enough profit” they probably wouldn’t go to a model that will actually reduce their advertising dollars. Manypublications are struggling in the digital age.

  • malcolmintl

    The trend towards charging for content is definitely significant and growing. Is it because of the iOS app store or just because we spend so much time in front of a screen instead of a piece of paper? That’s open to debate, but the $91M the NY Times generated last year with under 600,000 subscribers is a clear bellwether.

    I’m the CEO of MediaPass, and we have a better paywall solution than the one The Seattle Times is planning to use – if it’s indeed anything like that of the NY Times – that would generate far more revenue. Publishers are making up to 20X more revenue than just running ads, and it’s free to sign up and try charging.