December 7, 2012 / 2:30 AM / 7 years ago

Washington Post likely to charge for online access: WSJ

(Reuters) - The Washington Post, one of the few major newspapers not yet charging readers for online access to newspaper articles, is likely to introduce a payment system next year, the Wall Street Journal said, citing people familiar with the matter.

The sources said the newspaper is considering a metered paywall, where its website permits readers a certain number of stories free before charging a subscription fee, and is also considering increases in the print newspaper’s price.

The plans come as the Post grapples with steep declines in its core business of print advertising, the Journal said, adding that the newspaper division reported an operating loss of $56.3 million for the first nine months of the year, reflecting a 14 percent decline in revenue to $160.7 million.

The success of the New York Times’s paywall program, which was introduced about 18 months ago and now has more than 500,000 digital subscribers, has helped shape plans at the Washington Post, the Journal said.

Moody’s credit rating agency has called the U.S. newspaper industry’s outlook “negative” because of the “relentless” declines in overall revenue.

Newspaper executives have long touted digital advertising as a bright spot in an industry plagued by declining print readership, which has seen widespread newspaper closures in the United States.

Reporting By Ransdell Pierson; Editing by Michael Perry

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