Newspapers Clamping Down On Free Digital Content
While 2012 didn’t usher in the end of the world, the world of free online reading began to shrink sharply, as dozens of North American newspapers erected or announced plans to erect pay walls around their content. Which means 2013 could be a make-or-break year for many in the industry, as they scramble for alternative streams of revenue to make up for lost print advertising. In 2012, all of the major Canadian newspaper proprietors decided to throw their lot in with the paywall crowd. Postmedia Network, which publishes the National Post as well as a collection of metropolitan dailies including the Montreal Gazette, the Vancouver Province, and the Ottawa Citizen, will expand its digital subscription plans to its entire chain. Earlier this month, Quebecor’s Sun Media division threw a wall around its dailies in Toronto, Calgary, Winnipeg, Edmonton and Ottawa. The Globe and Mail introduced a paywall in late October; shortly afterward, the Toronto Star announced it would do the same in the new year.