Prince Albert Daily Herald to erect a paywall

TC Media publication joins long list of dailies charging for online content

Saskatchewan’s Prince Albert Daily Herald is set to join a long list of Canadian dailies that have erected a paywall around online content.

The TC Media-owned daily will introduce a metered access system Thursday, giving non-subscribers access to up to six articles, videos or photos per month before requiring them to purchase a digital subscription.

The 103-year-old Daily Herald—part of TC Media since 2002, having previously been owned by Canwest, Hollinger and the Thomson Corporation—is offering web-only access for 99 cents for the first month, which will be automatically renewed at a rate of $12.90 per month.

“Great news coverage is a costly thing to produce,” said Daily Herald publisher John Morash in a story on the newspaper’s website. “We had to rethink our online approach because that business model was simply not sustainable.”

Newspapers across North America have implemented digital subscriptions in an attempt to monetize web traffic and address the imbalance between increased digital readership and falling print revenues.

TC Media has been aggressively rolling out paywalls across its newspaper network over the past year. The Daily Herald is the fourth TC-owned publication to erect a paywall this year, following The Telgram (St. John’s), Cape Breton Post and The Western Star (Cornerbrook, NL).

According to the most recent information from Newspapers Canada, 38 of the country’s 93 paid daily newspapers have erected paywalls since 2004, 18 of them since April 2013.

While 10 free articles per month has been the general industry standard, Steven Brill, co-founder of Press+, a New York company that introduced the meter system currently used by 450 content groups worldwide, told Marketing last year that number has been steadily falling.

According to Newspapers Canada, the number of free articles offered by Canadian publishers typically ranges from 6 to 10 per month.

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