has introduced a metered access system that allows occasional readers to read some content for free before requiring them to buy an online subscription. The move comes a few months
after Boston business magnate John Henry bought the beleaguered newspaper from The New York Times Co.
Under the metered access model, visitors can read up to 10 BostonGlobe.com
stories for free during a rolling 30-day period, beginning with the first story they access. After they have read 10 stories for free, readers have to pony up for a digital sub, costing $0.99 for the
first four weeks.
Visitors will continue to get free access to the Globe’
s online content when referred from social media or search engines. The sister Web site to
BostonGlobe.com, Boston.com, will continue to offer free access to a range of original online content not found in the print newspaper.
The metered model replaces The Boston
’s previous paywall strategy, implemented in September 2011 when it was owned by NYTCO, which offered casual visitors no free access, meaning they had to buy an online subscription to
view even one article. The previous system racked up around 45,000 online subscribers, but according to Globe
editor Brian McGrory, “The universal belief is that we can bring even more
paying readers to the site with a meter.”
The metered model may still require some tweaks, hinted Pete Doucette, the Globe
’s vice president of consumer sales and
marketing, who stated: “Our shift to the metered model is part of our effort to continually experiment, test, and analyze how our readers engage with us digitally. We want to find the right
balance between sharing on social media and paid subscription access to premium Globe
content, and we believe that we can only arrive at that balance through experimentation.”
The Boston Globe
isn’t the first newspaper to ditch its first attempt at an online sub strategy. In August 2013, the San Francisco Chronicle
abandoned its pay
wall after just four months of testing. And in October, 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