Why Hearst doesn't like paywalls: Free access is 'a better strategy'

From Lucia Moses' profile of Hearst CEO Steve Swartz:

While many newspapers have turned to paywalls to offset declining ad revenue, Hearst has clung to free access. Some see this as lacking innovation, but Swartz counters that Hearst chose to place its bets on household penetration and that its free newspaper sites are profitable without paywalls. “If you put a gate on your free website, you’re giving up a powerful tool to reach the consumer, and we think that’s a better strategy than putting up a paywall,” he says.

  • Andrew Beaujon

    Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at TBD.com and managing editor of Washington City Paper. He's the author of the 2006 book "Body Piercing Saved My Life," about Christian rock and evangelical Christian culture.

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