The Newport Daily News, in Rhode Island, made some daily news outside of Newport this week by announcing that it was putting its Web site behind a pay wall.
That’s a link to a story about it on WRNI radio’s Web site. The actual editorial announcing the new policy is, well, behind the pay wall. Cost you five bucks to read it.
“It’s pretty exciting to be ahead of the curve on this,” assistant publisher William F. Lucey III is quoted saying in the piece. At first blush that might sound odd because it’s hardly a new idea for a newspaper to charge for Web content. But the Newport Daily News really is exploring a new business model for this grand profession.
The newspaper as protection racket.
If you live in Newport and you want to get the paper delivered, it’s $145 for the year. If you want the paper and the Web site, which has been redesigned and now includes the entire print edition in a format that mimics print, it’s $245.
OK, fair enough. Added value. You pay more for two things than for one. Wouldn’t be interesting to me as a customer but good luck, all the best.
But if you want to read the Web site without getting the print edition, it’s $345 for the year.
“You’ve got a real nice house there,” the Newport Daily News is saying to its subscribers. “I’d hate to see it littered up with paper every day. Know what I’m saying? A hundred bucks a year will keep your front yard niiiiiice and tidy. Get me?”
And they say newspapers are doomed. I have seen the future of the newspaper business. It’s extortion.