MNG to test pay wall concept in two small markets

Are newspaper publishers nervous about putting their content behind a pay wall? Rupert Murdoch admitted Wednesday that his plans to charge for online content from the New York Post and other papers he owns are behind schedule. Now MediaNews Group is saying that it won’t try to charge for content until it has tested the concept at two of its smaller papers, the Enterprise-Record in Chico, and the York (Pa.) Daily Record. The two papers will test the concept of

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Singleton: Free online content has no value

Dean Singleton, head of MediaNews Group which owns the Mercury News and several other Bay Area dailies, told the National Conference of Editorial Writers on Thursday that his papers will start charging for news online beginning next year. “We can’t continue to give everything away for free,” Singleton told the group, which is meeting in Salt Lake City. “When you give it away for free, it has no value. When you begin charging for it, it has some value.” “I

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Major publishers talking about online fees

The LA Times says News Corp., headed by Rupert Murdoch, is talking to major media companies including Chron owner Hearst Corp. about forming a consortium that would charge readers for online news. Other companies mentioned in the LA Times piece include the New York Times, Washington Post and Tribune Co. No mention of MediaNews Group, though its chief executive, Dean Singleton, is headed down the same track of charging online readers for news. The article notes, “Analysts are skeptical that

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83% won’t pay for newspaper articles online

KPIX CBS5 commissioned a poll that found 83 percent of people won’t pay for newspaper articles online. Here’s a link to Sue Kwan’s report Wednesday about the poll and the idea of charging for news online. Among those in her story is newspaper industry blogger Alan Mutter who points out, “You are facing an entire generation of that has been conditioned to getting everything for free.” He says pay sites only work if the content is exclusive and it helps

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Print-only experiment upsets online crowd

Phil Bronstein’s column, critical of Gavin Newsom, appeared briefly on the SFGate.com site and then was pulled. That prompted bloggers to allege a conspiracy since the Chron has been Newsom’s biggest media supporter for years. Hours after the column was pulled, Bronstein and his replacement, Chron editor Ward Bushee, said the posting of Bronstein’s column on SFGate.com was a mistake, and that it was only supposed to be in print. The Chron is testing whether it makes sense to offer

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What’s MNG’s goal in charging for online news?

MediaNews Group president Jody Lodovic tells E&P that doesn’t expect the company’s plans to charge for news online to make significant income. “The whole idea is to stop the erosion from print to online and encourage people to become print subscribers.” MNG, with 54 dailies including the Mercury News, makes most of its money from print ads. Newspaper Web sites, more than a decade after they became widespread, are still only producing a single digit percentage of most newspaper company’s

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MediaNews will charge for some content

Not so many years ago, newspaper executives were saying they needed to put all of their stories online, even though they were charging people to read the same stories in a printed newspaper. Now, MediaNews Group executives Dean Singleton (right) and Jody Lodovic (left) are having second thoughts. “… we continue to do an injustice to our print subscribers and create perceptions that our content has no value by putting all of our print content online for free,” they said

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Venture intends to charge for news online

A new venture called Journalism Online LLC plans to help newspapers make money online by charging readers for news. The founders include Leo Hindery, a former chief executive of AT&T Broadband; Steven Brill, the founder of Court TV, and former Wall Street Journal publisher Gordon Crovitz. Brill said the company has already held talks with most major U.S. newspaper and magazine publishers and they expressed “strong interest” in the venture. “We think this is a special moment in time when

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Chron to charge for some online content

The Chronicle, which announced last week that it is in danger of closing, will begin charging for access to some of the content it offers online, according to the Wall Street Journal. The other 15 papers in the Hearst chain will do the same, including the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, which Hearst plans to close as a printed newspaper. “Exactly how much paid content to hold back from our free sites will be a judgment call made daily by our management, whose

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Lazarus: Consider charging for news online

As newspapers shift from print to online, they’re discovering that the Internet doesn’t generate enough money to pay the bills — that after a decade of posting news stories online, Internet operations only account for 5 percent of a typical newspaper’s overall revenue. Meanwhile, sites like Drudge and Google News are linking to the content of newspapers for free. Chron columnist David Lazarus (left) says in today’s edition that newspapers should consider charging people to read their stories. But he

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