Yesterday the Boston Globe announced their solution to the company’s ongoing financial problem: a paid website. (Last year we had extensive coverage of the Globe’s financial crisis, including an exclusive Q&A with Globe reporter Sean P. Murphy)
This paid site will not take affect until the second half of 2011, but it could provide a solution for Boston’s largest newspaper. Globe reporter Robert Gavin had details on this news:
The Boston Globe next year will split its digital news brands into two distinct websites, keeping Boston.com free while establishing a subscription-only pay site, BostonGlobe.com, which will feature all the content produced by the newspaper’s journalists, publisher Christopher M. Mayer said today.
The change, scheduled to take place during the second half of 2011, is aimed at building an audience of paid subscribers online, a strategy that newspapers across the country increasingly are moving towards. With this approach, the company also aims to maintain high traffic to Boston.com, one of the nation’s largest regional news sites and a site that generates revenue from advertising.
While the Globe explained that Boston.com would remain similar to how it is now, BostonGlobe.com will feature content from the newspaper, and people subscribing to the newspaper will automatically have access to the paid site.
The Globe isn’t the first paper to try out this revenue model. The New Bedford Standard Time and Worcester Telegram & Gazette also have this model, and the New York Times has hinted at a paid site as well, Gavin reported. The key for these papers is to capitalize on advertising revenue from the paid sites. While subscription fees will help bring in some revenue, a successful advertising model is crucial for their long-term survival.
It will also be interesting to see who exactly subscribes to BostonGlobe.com are. The younger workforce has become very used to getting content online for free, and there are a lot of blogs and websites that supply plenty of interesting content and information. Will recent college grads be willing to pay for access to local news and journalism? My guess is no, and that BostonGlobe.com subscribers will be an older generation that is used to reading a physical newspaper.