A “brave” experiment: Brunswick News puts faith in pay wall

Brunswick News, owner of nearly all of New Brunswick’s print newspapers, is going to start charging readers to access its content online.

The Chronicle Herald‘s Brett Bundale reported on Friday that the company would activate a “hard” pay wall on its online newspaper editions today. Brunswick News owns 10 French-language weeklies, six English-language weeklies, and three English-language dailies: Saint John’s Telegraph-Journal, Fredericton’s Daily Gleaner, and Moncton’s Times & Transcript.

The pay wall will ask readers to pay to access any piece of content on Brunswick News’ subsidiary website, Canadaeast.com. This strategy differs from pay walls on other sites that allow readers to read a number of free stories before they have to pay, Kelly Toughill writes for J-Source.

Brunswick News editor-in-chief Rob Warner is confident the pay wall will pay off. “I think that content is king, and the information we will have on our website will speak for itself,” he said. Some would beg to differ, though. Mark Tunney, a former Telegraph-Journal editor, told Bundale he thought the move was “brave,” but said he’s “not terribly optimistic.”

Pay walls have worked for some companies, such as the New York Times and Northern News Services, as Bundale notes. He also hints at what’s behind the success of those pay walls: for different reasons, those publication’s readers can’t get the same quality elsewhere. In the case of the Times, it’s because, well, it’s the Times. Such high-quality content isn’t easy to find elsewhere, and their readers are willing to fork over $15 a month to access all that great stuff any time, from anywhere. In the case of Northern News Services, they have so little competition that if their readers want local news, getting through the pay wall is the only way to get it. Though their situation is similar, Brunswick News has the CBC to contend with, Bundale writes.

Before anyone can start evaluating the success of the pay wall, though, it needs to go up. As of 11:00 a.m. EST today, it was possible to access full articles—from the Telegraph-Journal, Daily Gleaner, and Times & Transcript—on Canadaeast.com, without registering or paying. The pages for weekly papers—such as those in Bathurst, Grand Falls, and Sussex—were “temporarily unavailable,” though, which could indicate the re-launch is coming soon. Bundale’s story notes that there have been significant delays and the new site was originally set to go up in September.

Correction: December 8 This post originally stated that Belinda Alzner wrote the piece for J-Source that’s cited above. In fact, Kelly Toughill wrote that article. We have corrected that error.

Posted on December 5, 2011 at 11:15 am by editor · · Tagged with: , , ,

8 Responses

Subscribe to comments via RSS

  1. Written by dan
    on December 5, 2011 at 4:29 pm
    Reply · Permalink

    It’s interesting to note the Northern News Service, the smiliar example that keeps being sighted, offers subscriptions at $50 for a whole year of online viewing. A year of Brunswick News access will cost you $204. Oddly, it’s a little more than that if you want online only access. (see https://www.telegraphjournal.com/iservices/circulation/addrfind.html)

    • Written by editor
      on December 6, 2011 at 2:12 pm
      Reply · Permalink

      Three dollars more per month to not get a paper delivered! It might be because ads in print are more valuable, and this provides an incentive for readers to get a print edition, thereby upping the print edition’s circulation. That’s just a guess, though.

  2. Written by Belinda Alzner
    on December 7, 2011 at 3:30 pm
    Reply · Permalink

    Just a small correction: It was Kelly Toughill who originally wrote about Brunswick News’ strategy for J-Source, not me! My name simply shows up when I post content to our site.

    • Written by editor
      on December 8, 2011 at 7:25 am
      Reply · Permalink

      Thanks for pointing that out, Belinda!

  3. Written by eric
    on January 6, 2012 at 8:28 am
    Reply · Permalink

    they will never get my money i think having to pay for the news paper is really stupid ill just go out to the library and get it for free they just lost a person who enjoyed reading there online website!!!

  4. Written by dodger
    on January 6, 2012 at 11:15 am
    Reply · Permalink

    Good luck to them…..I can’t imagine many people paying for the low quality “journalism” involved…..

  5. Written by redneon
    on January 6, 2012 at 4:33 pm
    Reply · Permalink

    Yesterday after reading my home delivered Gleaner, I went on line to do see what people where posting about a couple of articles and the Opinion section. This is a daily ritual for me.
    I was shocked to find the “Canada East” website gone and a new “pay” web site in its place.

    Paying monthly for online reading should ONLY be for those that do not pay for home delivery. Why should I as a reader who like the feel of newsprint in my hands, have to pay extra to go on line to the new “online newspaper web site” just to leave a comment or two and have my voice heard about a subject?

    This is totally called “gouging customers” and uncalled for. If the Daily Gleaner (or any other publications on the new web site) do not give the online reading free to its home delivery subscribers, I for one will CANCEL my home delivery and just watch tv.

    If they are doing this because they are loosing readers/home delivery subscribers.. then they will soon find that they will loose more! Shame,Shame!

  6. Written by dodger
    on June 20, 2012 at 8:02 am
    Reply · Permalink

    How’s it working for them, I see Mr. Waerner is no longer editor in chief. Hmmmmmm

Subscribe to comments via RSS

Leave a Reply