HOME
          
LATEST STORY
A mixed bag on apps: What The New York Times learned with NYT Opinion and NYT Now
ABOUT                    SUBSCRIBE
April 5, 2012, 1 p.m.
A newly laid brick wall

Wait — so how many newspapers have paywalls?

Pew says around 150 U.S. dailies have digital subscription models, but AP reports 300 newspapers with paywalls.

It can be hard to measure something that keeps growing.

Just over two weeks ago, the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism reported that there are roughly 150 dailies in the United States that now have some form of digital subscription service. “Dozens more papers are likely to follow in 2012,” the study’s authors wrote.

Fast forward to Wednesday, and here’s the headline attached to an AP story in the Washington Post: “Nearly 300 US newspapers now charging for access on websites, smartphones and tablets.”

I had heard about the Lansing State Journal (Go Green!) announcing its paywall the other day — but did the number of dailies with paywalls really double in a matter of weeks?

It depends on who you ask and how you count.

Most of the papers AP is counting are clients of Press+, which announced in a press release that 323 publications now use its services to “launch paid models.” But those aren’t all newspapers, or in the United States.

“Press+ also does college publications, magazines, trade pubs, things like that,” said Chuck Moozakis, editor-in-chief at News & Tech, which produced the numbers Pew cited. Press+ also works with non-daily newspapers.

Press+ spokeswoman Cindy Rosenthal says that, if you take out the weeklies, magazines, international newspapers, and others, the right number for their platform is around 250 — that’s U.S. dailies who use the company’s platform for digital subscriptions. She couldn’t give an exact figure, and Press+ keeps confidential its list of clients, which makes comparing their count to others’ difficult. But she noted the number continues to grow.

By Moozakis’ count — he updated it just a few days ago — the number of U.S. dailies with digital subscription services is hovering around 160. And the Newspaper Association of America‘s most recent data (from mid-February) finds about 110 daily newspapers in the U.S. have paywalls.

One thing seems clear: The number of newspapers that are putting up paywalls is on the rise. Between newspapers owned by Lee Enterprises Inc., and Gannett, Moozakis estimates about 110 new paywalls in the nearish future.

“Other publishers like McClatchy, which at this point only has one paper with a paywall, you gotta figure they’re going to be jumping on this,” he said. Tribune is the “wild card.” Even the company’s home page has dueling perspectives under the subheads “Old Media is Dead” and “Long Live Old Media.”

Turns out the lesson here is one we keep learning again and again: The news business is changing, and it’s changing fast.

POSTED     April 5, 2012, 1 p.m.
SHARE THIS STORY
   
Show comments  
Show tags
 
Join the 15,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
A mixed bag on apps: What The New York Times learned with NYT Opinion and NYT Now
The two apps were part of the paper’s plan to increase digital subscribers through smaller, targeted offerings. Now, with staff cutbacks on the way, one app is being shuttered and the other is being adjusted.
The newsonomics of new cutbacks at The New York Times
The Times found success with its first round of paywalls, disappointment with its second. Is it hitting a paid-content ceiling?
With limited time to revamp WNYC’s Schoolbook, John Keefe decided to take his team on the road
The new Schoolbook will have targeted emails, major content partnerships, three languages, and more — and building it took just seven days.
What to read next
751
tweets
Wearables could make the “glance” a new subatomic unit of news
“The audience wants to go faster. This can’t be solved with responsive design; it demands an original approach, certainly at the start.”
677Designer or journalist: Who shapes the news you read in your favorite apps?
A new study looks at how engineers and designers from companies like Storify, Zite, and Google News see their work as similar — and different — from traditional journalism.
596Ken Doctor: Guardian Space & Guardian Membership, playing the physical/digital continuum
The Guardian is making its biggest bet on memberships and events by renovating a 30,000 square foot space to host live activities in the heart of London.
These stories are our most popular on Twitter over the past 30 days.
See all our most recent pieces ➚
Encyclo is our encyclopedia of the future of news, chronicling the key players in journalism’s evolution.
Here are a few of the entries you’ll find in Encyclo.   Get the full Encyclo ➚
Voice of San Diego
NBC News
Spot.Us
Reuters
New England Center for Investigative Reporting
DNAinfo
New West
MinnPost
BuzzFeed
The Nation
The Sunlight Foundation
Associated Press