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Editor’s Note: Encyclo has not been regularly updated since August 2014, so information posted here is likely to be out of date and may be no longer accurate. It’s best used as a snapshot of the media landscape at that point in time.

Press+ is a service that assists news organizations in charging for content online.

The service was founded in April 2009 as part of the company Journalism Online by entrepreneur and CourtTV founder Steven Brill, former Wall Street Journal publisher Gordon Crovitz, and investment fund manager Leo Hindery. In March 2011, Journalism Online was acquired by RR Donnelley for about $35 million. RR Donnelley was reported to be seeking to sell the company in late 2013.

Press+ is not designed to implement a particular paid-content model. Brill and Crovitz said in Press+’s early days that the tool has 16 options for paid content, and they were working with clients on models ranging from partly free metered websites to micropayments, donations, and full paywalls. More recently, Press+ reported that all of its active affiliates had chosen some form of metered model, though the types of meters vary.

Before its sale, the company talked of plans to charge a 20 percent commission based on online paid-content revenue.

As of 2013, Press+ had about 450 active clients, which include the MediaNewsMcClatchy, and Lee newspaper chains, the Chicago Sun-Times and Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and the Guardian News and Media Group. They also include several college newspapers. All but 5% of the clients were within the U.S., as of 2013.

MediaNews has instituted a metered model that allows a limited number of free articles each month. A Lancaster, Pennsylvania, newspaper is adding a similar model to charge readers from outside the paper’s geographical area. ProPublica and Poynter are using the service to solicit donations, and the international news startup GlobalPost is using it to solicit donations and memberships.

Critics of Press+ have questioned whether it can succeed in a competitive field of online payment companies and the viability of charging for content that can be made available through aggregators.

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Primary author: Mark Coddington. Main text last updated: November 7, 2013.
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