Following in The New York Times' footsteps, The Boston Globe on Thursday announced plans to launch a paid subscription Web site by the second half of 2011.
Named BostonGlobe.com, the paid site will feature news and feature stories, commentary, analysis, photographs and graphics published in the paper's daily and Sunday newspapers.
As part of a two-pronged strategy, Boston.com will remain free to readers, and continue to serve a platform for advertisers. Its focus will remain daily local news reports, sports, and weather, as well as guides to local entertainment, travel and restaurants.
Boston.com will continue to feature all Globe classified advertising for real estate, autos and jobs. The site will also maintain social and ecommerce components.
"Our research shows that Boston.com currently attracts several different types of users," Christopher Mayer, publisher of The Boston Globe and president, New England Media Group, said on Thursday. "Some are readers whose main interest is breaking news and things to do, while others want access to the entirety of The Boston Globe."
"These two distinct sites will allow us to serve both types of readers with maximum effectiveness, while continuing to provide advertisers the large engaged audience they have come to expect from Boston.com," Mayer added.
The look and feel of BostonGlobe.com will "approximate the feel of a newspaper or magazine," according to the company.
Subscriptions to BostonGlobe.com will be included for free as part of a print subscription to The Boston Globe.
As part of its digital strategy, The Boston Globe also plans to develop a range of Globe-branded digital products that will allow access to the Globe across various devices and services.
In the fourth quarter of 2010, the company said it plans to reintroduce user registration to Boston.com, which is expected to help advertisers more effectively target specific segments of the site's audience.
"This will very quickly allow us to offer advertisers the ability to target precise segments of our audience," Mayer said on Thursday.
While expressing confidence, Mayer added: "Clearly there are many details to work out as we develop our new digital strategy."
Presently, Boston.com accounts for roughly 5 million unique visitors a month, according to Nielsen.
Early next year, The New York Times plans to broadly roll out its so-called metered model, in which print subscribers get free, unlimited access to the Web site, but non-subscribers are limited to 10 staff-produced articles a month.