is poised to begin charging for online access to editorial content using a metered subscription model, the newspaper revealed Wednesday. Like other newspapers’ online
subscription plans, the service -- which takes effect June 12 -- requires readers to buy a digital subscription after seeing a certain amount of content for free.WaPo
users free access to 20 articles or multimedia features per month, after which they will have to buy a monthly subscription for $9.99 a month for desktop and mobile access. A Digital Premium plan,
which costs $14.99 per month, also gives subscribers access to custom apps developed by the newspaper.
In order to encourage Web traffic and discovery, visitors that arrive at a piece
of content via a search engine or social sharing will always get free access to that content, even if they have already exceeded their free viewing limit. Customers who subscribe to home delivery of
the printed newspapers will continue to have free access to all the newspaper’s digital content.
The new plan includes one interesting variation from other newspapers’
online sub models, as WaPo
’s digital content will be available free to students, teachers, government employs and military personnel from their places of work.
Newspaper publishers have rushed to implement paid access to online content over the last couple of years, following the success of The New York Times
’ metered access model,
introduced in March 2011, as well as other early adopters, like The Wall Street Journal
. Last year, Gannett and McClatchy began rolling out digital paywalls at their regional and local
papers, followed by E.W. Scripps this year.
As a result of online paywalls, newspapers’ circulation revenues rose last year for the first time after eight years of continuous
declines from 2003-2011. Total circulation revenues increased 4.5% from $10 billion in 2011 to $10.45 billion in 2012, according to the Newspaper Association of America