March 18 The Washington Post plans to
start charging for some digital content starting this summer,
becoming one of the last major U.S. newspapers to reach into
readers' wallets for new online revenue.
Online readers of the Post will be required to pay a
subscription fee after accessing 20 free articles per month.
Subscribes to the print edition of the newspaper will have free
access to all of the Post's digital content.
The Post, which made the announcement on Monday, did not
release any additional details on pricing.
The plan to start charging readers for digital access comes
as newspapers face serious challenges because advertisers - once
a main source of revenue - are choosing to put their dollars
into other media.
Print advertising for the newspaper industry fell a sixth
consecutive year in 2012, dropping 7.3 percent, according to The
State of the News Media, an influential annual report released
on Monday by The Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in
On top of a drain in print advertising revenue, the gap
between print and digital is startling: For every $1 gained in
digital advertising there is a loss of $16 in print, the report
At the Post, print advertising declined 14 percent to $228.2
million in 2012. Digital advertising, which includes the online
magazine Slate, increased 5 percent to $110.6 million
Roughly 32 percent of all dailies in the United States
charge for some kind of digital access, according to the report.
The New York Times, which launched a pay model in
2011, has been perhaps the most closely watched paper.
Paid digital subscribers to the newspaper and its
international edition totaled 640,000 at the end of the fourth
quarter. Circulation revenue surpassed advertising revenue at
the New York Times for the first time in 2012.