News Paywalls Stage A Comeback

Seems like everyone is jumping on this bandwagon. The Washington Post “probably” will introduce a paywall in the middle of 2013, the paper reports — after parent company Chairman Donald Graham told an investor conference this week that he’s considering one. E.W. Scripps also told the confab that it will ask readers to pay for digital access in 14 newspaper markets. And now The Daily Beast is “exploring” metered access, it told Bloomberg. These aren’t isolated cases: The number of U.S. newspapers with a paywall “has at least doubled this year,” The Economist reports adding: “More than a quarter of newspapers now have one, and most big groups that do not have plans to charge for digital access.” Papers need to generate cash to make up for the decline in ad sales. The industry generated $23.9B in 2011, the lowest it had been since 1984. In addition, companies including The New York Times and Gannett have reported success with their paywalls. The effort at Gannett, the largest newspaper publisher, will result in the first uptick in six years in circulation revenue it told investors this week.

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