'Dallas Morning News' Scraps Pay Wall

Lots of newspapers have been erecting online paywalls, but that doesn’t mean they all stay standing. This week another metropolitan daily, The Dallas Morning News, announced that it will no longer require visitors to buy a digital subscription to see online content, reverting to the free access model.

Dallas Morning News CEO and publisher Jim Moroney stated: “In the first quarter of 2011, we became one of the first daily newspapers to ask consumers to pay for the content we distributed digitally. Now, we are going to experiment with another approach.”

Although anyone can access Dallas Morning News content for free, the newspaper is still offering a “premium digital experience” subscription for $2.99 per week, which will include enhanced design and navigation, less advertising and increased personalization.

A new loyalty program will offer subscribers perks like tickets to the Texas State Fair and exclusive access to events hosted by the newspaper.

This reversal follows a similar move by the San Francisco Chronicle, which announced that it was scrapping its paywall in August after four months of testing. Like the DMN, the Chronicle is continuing to sell digital subscriptions for SFChronicle.com even after making content available for free at SFGate.com, touting “the unique assets that distinguish SFChronicle.com, including design features, utility and unique offerings to subscribers that differentiates it from our other content platforms.”

Like other newspapers, the Dallas Morning News has struggled to find new sources of advertising and circulation revenue. In September, it introduced native ads for its digital channels through Speakeasy, a social content marketing company formed as a joint venture between the newspaper and Slingshot LLC.

The program was tested earlier this year with Extra!, a new product that presents paid marketing content as a complement to editorial content found in the newspaper’s online GuideLive section



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