The club composed of U.S. newspapers charging for some content online -- already growing dramatically -- just added another big title. The Honolulu Star-Advertiser will begin charging visitors for access to some premium content on its Web site.
Announced less than two months after the HSA was formed from the merger of The Honolulu Advertiser and the Honolulu Star-Bulletin on June 6, the paywall is scheduled to take effect on August 3, the newspaper reports.
The all-access package, which includes both the print edition and premium online content, costs $19.95 per month. Subscribers who want to skip the print edition will be able to choose from digital-only subscriptions with daily, monthly and annual rates.
Like other hybrid "freemium" models, the paywall will only apply to some kinds of content: the HSA says nonsubscribers will still get free access to the newspaper Web site's front page and section fronts, breaking news, AP stories, event calendars and local activities listings, photo galleries, blogs, classifieds, travel, obituaries and traffic.
As noted, a number of newspapers (both large and small) have begun charging readers for access to some online content, including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, the Dallas Morning News and the Albuquerque Journal, among others.
A recent survey by the Reynolds Journalism Institute at the University of Missouri-Columbia found that 25% of U.S. newspapers are already charging for some online content -- a proportion that could rise to 60% in a few years as publishers struggle to stabilize finances amid a continuing decline in print ad revenues, and only modest growth in online revenues.
The UMC survey found that the proportion is even higher among smaller newspapers, with 46% of small daily newspapers (meaning, with circulation under 25,000) charging for online subscriptions of some kind, compared to 24% for newspapers with circulation over 25,000.