Content Marketing

Chicago Tribune to Introduce Paywall, New Content to Paid Subscribers

The Chicago Tribune revealed that it will start charging for online content while simultaneously offering paid subscribers premium content.

This week, the site is introducing a registration form, requiring readers to subscribe to read content, free for now. The registration is signaling that a paywall is coming.

Along with Tribune articles, paid subscribers will be able to access content from the Economist and Forbes via Newscred, a third-party news platform, according to Paid Content. Another news outlet is going to be added to the service over the next few weeks, says Digital VP of Tribune Bill Adee. E-books will be available to users as well.

Treating subscribers like members

“The Chicago Tribune is among the last major papers in the country to introduce a paywall which has given it times learn from others’ efforts,” writes Paid Content’s Jeff John Roberts. “These include the ‘metered’ strategy (allowing casual readers to see a certain number of articles for free) which is now nearly universal and a decision to make content shared via social media available to everyone.”

He also noted, “the Tribune is also  following the LA Times‘ effort to make online subscribers feel that they are buying a membership to more than just the paper; the latter does so by offering tickets and event discounts to its subscribers.”

More exposure for partner publications

For the Economist and Forbes, the partnership means more exposure, since they are gaining access to the Tribune’s audience, writes Roberts.

While the paper will have to earn more money to keep up with its partnership deals, “the approach stands to pay off by offering Tribune readers a richer world of reading behind the paywall without having to put too much of its content out of sight,” he says.

A new design will also be launched. “We’ll be testing content and our readers’ reaction to the expanded, relaunched site, and we’re going to sort through all of that before we determine how much to charge,” Maggie Wartik, a Tribune spokeswoman, told the Chicago Sun-Times.

This week, the New York Times announced that it would start offering its articles on Flipboard. Recently, Time Inc. agreed to put its magazines up on Apple’s Newstand. With newspapers losing money, teaming up with third-party channels and charging for content seem like viable options for needed revenue.

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