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'Houston Chronicle' First Hearst Newspaper To Put Up Paywall

The Houston Chronicle's premium website, launched last week as a companion to the daily's existing free site, "marks the first Hearst Corp. newspaper to place content behind a paywall and could herald similar digital initiatives at other Hearst sites," according to News & Tech. The premium website strategy is "one of a number of options under evaluation by the publisher," which is  "contemplating different models for different markets.”

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1 comment about "'Houston Chronicle' First Hearst Newspaper To Put Up Paywall ".
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  1. Stephen Staloch from Mainstreet Media Group, December 3, 2012 at 1:28 p.m.

    With the value of those mastheads not on the national radar screen rapidly diminishing, and the industry flocking to gimmicks in order slow the demise of print, I'm convinced it's time we allowed the marketplace of readers to decide if and when the individual pieces of content produced should be monetized. Not sure how a story or video achieves maximum viral interest and is talked about around the kitchen table or water cooler if parked behind a paywall, and keeping score of how many stories I've read or viewed during a publisher-defined period of time is an instinctively negative experience for consumers and technologically porous in practice. And just how many sites will a consumer subscribe to in order to read or view what they want to consume?
    Maybe not yet Armageddon, but the issues mainstream publishers face are debilitating and their way of doing business today, unsustainable: aging printing presses reaching the end of their useful life with a negative future ROI; employees cleverly but indefensibly disguised as independent contractors delivering their products; an archaic belief that readers will continue to support a masthead simply because of its one-time relevance and legacy; and the stark realization that with each readership study commissioned, the demos relied on for their very existence are looking even less like the audience advertisers demand they reach.
    With the proliferation of metered paywalls, the vast majority of media companies appear intent on writing another Darwinian chapter in their history by following the big publishing dogs over what could well be a fiscal cliff of their own making.
    It’s time for innovation that gives publishers the tool to create a new revenue stream based on monetizing individual pieces of content that are credible and virally-certified by the marketplace of readers as worth paying for, rather than replicating failed subscription models of the past.
    Steve Staloch
    President & CEO
    Tolltrigger, LLC

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