Anders Gyllenhaall, CEO of McClatchy, which owns The Star, wrote today that the company would be implementing “a robust test” of paywalls in several markets. Kansas City is not included in the test. The rollout includes McClatchy papers in Sacramento, Fort Worth, Modesto, Biloxi and Columbus, Ga.
After more than a year of experiments and analysis on pay models, McClatchy newspapers will begin a robust test of a pay plan that looks like the right balance for our websites. The approach will offer readers a new print-digital subscription that will include access to multimedia editions for a relatively small increase of home delivery rates. We’ll also offer online-only users a digital subscription that will be prompted after a set number of page views. We’ve arrived at this combination after a lot of research, involving McClatchy papers and others, which shows that a thoughtfully crafted, opt-out digital subscription is a good fit with our overall readership and circulation strategy. In the coming months, we’ll begin a final round of testing with a handful of McClatchy papers (first up will be Sacramento, Fort Worth, Modesto, Biloxi and Columbus). The experiences of these papers will determine how and under what schedule to extend to all papers.
Gyllenhaall writes that the paid content strategy means placing a greater value on online content.
We’ve learned that many light online users are unlikely to become subscribers — but that our loyal print and online customers are willing to sign up in exchange for a multi-media subscription that would include the print edition, web, smart phones and the e-edition. Above all, we found that the impact of placing a clear value on our content is among the most important messages we can send as part of this transition.