April 1, 2015

Toronto Star

The Toronto Star announced Wednesday the retirement of its digital subscription program, formalizing a move that was projected months ago.

The Star also launched a Snapchat account and enabled readers to share its articles with WhatsApp. The announcement, which carries the byline “Toronto Star,” includes details of an update to the outlet’s mobile app.

The Star’s paywall was introduced in 2013 and heralded as a “major transition” for the newspaper. The paywall comprised different payment tiers for digital and print subscribers.

Media analyst Ken Doctor was quoted in a November Globe and Mail story saying the decision to discontinue the paywall was driven by a bid to generate increased advertising revenue.

In general, paywalls have helped offset some of the falling print advertising revenue at many papers, Mr. Doctor said. Across North America, circulation revenue was up 3 to 4 per cent over the past year, partly due to income from the paywall subscriptions, he said. But that is not nearly enough to offset the drop in advertising revenue, especially in print.

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Benjamin Mullin is the managing editor of Poynter.org. He previously reported for Poynter as a staff writer, Google Journalism Fellow and Naughton Fellow, covering journalism…
Benjamin Mullin

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