February 26, 2012

Providence Journal Lowers The Boom On Us Freeloaders Tuesday

Monique Chartier

... so the ProJo itself announced earlier today.

Starting on Tuesday, The Providence Journal will begin charging some subscribers for access to the newspaper’s digital editions.

I came across the announcement just now while browsing Rhode Island news. But readers of "On Politics" with Ian Donnis and Scott MacKay would have learned about it three full days ago as MacKay had obtained and shared the contents of

a memo sent to ProJo employees from Deb Tomlinson, the newspaper’s vice president for audience, business development and digital

which included a description of the various pay options that the ProJo will offer.

... the Journal will begin charging for “new subscription packages’’ that include a choice of print-only, a hybrid of print and digital, or digital only subscriptions. And customers will have options for either a seven day and weekend subscription or a Thursday-Sunday package or Sunday only home delivery.
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A prediction, revenues will continue to decline. Display advertising does not have the desired impact on digital screens. Readers have to go through a selection process to see it. As visual media gets cheaper, dunkin donuts, etc, will give away "newspapers", much as they currently give away CNN.

In order to survive, newspapers will have to return to the old days of reliance on AP, UPI, Reuters, etc. I suppose they already have, in the sense that "Washington Bureaus" have disapppeared.

Posted by: Warrington Faust at February 27, 2012 6:40 AM

Usually websites move from the "pay model" to the "free model" during a decline, not vice versa. This is all very backwards, but ultimately fitting for Rhode Island.

Posted by: Dan at February 27, 2012 7:36 AM

I think the Projo has to look at a completely new business plan. Instead of "all the news that fits", perhaps it is time to be completely local.

Since the news aggregators like Drudge have it first, all of the national news in the Projo is "yesterday's news".

Perhaps they can adopt some language from the real estate crowd where people no longer "down size", they "right size".

Too bad, 100 years ago the New York Times began stories with "Today the Providence Journal reports". The editor's brother in law was the German ambassador, so the Projo got it first. He also introduced the Weimariner to the U.S.

Sorry for all of the duplicates lately. When I click "post", it doesn't seem to take.

Posted by: Warrington Faust at February 27, 2012 10:07 AM

Their "e-edition" is difficult to read online, the pages don't scroll very well, rolling the cursor over the page sets some sort of blue blocking off, and it's too easy to turn the page accidentally.

I like the idea of their going local and leaving the national and international news to others. Most towns and cities don't have much in the way of good local papers - the papers exist but the reporting and writing is often too painful to read.

I do notice many of the local "reporters" have gone to Patch, which seems to live on bad but cheap (or free) written content.

Posted by: riborn at February 27, 2012 5:28 PM

I am not one of the freeloaders. I stopped paying for the ProJo hardcopy a year ago and even giving it away for free wasn't enough of an inducement to read it online. Its content, not means of delivery, that is the problem. (I do subscribe to the online WSJ and have no problem paying for value received).

Posted by: chuckR at February 27, 2012 10:59 PM
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