Chronicle Herald considering online paywall
The Chronicle Herald says it's considering charging for online content as one of the country's national newspapers prepares to start its paywall next week.
Earlier this week, the Globe and Mail unveiled details of its metered paywall system, where readers will be asked to pay if they read more than a certain number of articles a month.
Mark Lever, the president and CEO of the The Chronicle Herald, said the Nova Scotia paper is watching the Globe and studying other papers as well.
"We're looking at a lot of American markets that are similar sizes to us and similar scenarios, more our peers than maybe the Globe would be in understanding how paid access for the digital content has worked for them," he told CBC News on Tuesday.
Starting Oct. 22, the Globe and Mail will charge $20 a month for full access to the website. Readers will have access to 10 free items each month, including articles, videos and slide shows.
Certain items such as the homepage of the site, section fronts, videos and stock quotes will all remain free. Articles linked from Facebook, Twitter, search engines and blogs will not count toward the monthly limit, either.
Lever said The Chronicle Herald is still working out the details of a possible metered paywall.
"How many stories can people see over what period of time for free before they are prompted to pay, whether we bundle it with a home delivery subscription," he said.
"There are a bunch of scenarios that we're actually examining."
The Globe and Mail — which announced it would move to a paywall system earlier this year — is following the lead of the New York Times, which is expected to collect $85 million US from online subscribers this year.
Postmedia Network Inc. has also started charging for content on The Ottawa Citizen, Vancouver Province, Vancouver Sun and the National Post websites.
Tim Currie, who teaches online journalism at the University of King's College, said charging for online material is one way for newspapers to replace declining advertising revenue, but the Herald could also find it difficult.
"They have competition from Metro and from CBC and if OpenFile ever gets back on its feet, from them as well," said Currie.
"Readers of the Herald would have other options than the Globe readers would have."
After suffering a dip in print readership, Lever said readership of The Chronicle Herald has rebounded to 2008 levels. He said that gives the paper some time before having to decide about charging online readers.