Wednesday, January 27, 2010

After Three Months, Only 35 Paying Subscriptions for Newspaper's Web Site

After Three Months, Only 35 Subscriptions for Newsday's Web Site

In late October, Newsday, the Long Island daily that the Dolans bought for $650 million, put its web site, newsday.com, behind a pay wall. The paper was one of the first non-business newspapers to take the plunge by putting up a pay wall, so in media circles it has been followed with interest. Could its fate be a sign of what others, including The New York Times, might expect?

So, three months later, how many people have signed up to pay $5 a week, or $260 a year, to get unfettered access to newsday.com?

The answer: 35 people. As in fewer than three dozen. As in a decent-sized elementary-school class.

[...]

The web site redesign and relaunch cost the Dolans $4 million, according to Mr. Jimenez. With those 35 people, they’ve grossed about $9,000.

[To be fair, a huge part of their audience gets free access.]

Anyone who has a newspaper subscription is allowed free access; anyone who has Optimum Cable, which is owned by the Dolans and Cablevision, also gets it free. Newsday representatives claim that 75 percent of Long Island either has a subscription or Optimum Cable.

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