Canada’s highest-circulation newspaper is putting a price barrier on their online content. The Star announced that on Tuesday they’ll be launching their Digital Access program, a subscription that will restrict said digital access if you don’t pay up. The cost of reading online coverage will now be $9.99 per month with the first month costing $0.99. (Exisiting home delivery subscribers with automatic monthly payments will get Digital Access for free.) They’ll also deliver you a copy at home on Saturdays until the end of 2013.
With Toronto Star reigning as the most-visited newspaper website in the GTA according to their 2012 report, this paywall will reach for a lot Toronto wallets. It’ll be interesting to see how many of the 1 million readers will be getting on board after years of getting online news for free, will opt to pick up paper copies instead or will just be relying on their Twitter feeds to keep them informed, leading to the inevitable growth of the population who just read filtered content and/or funny jokes. But the Star is hopeful that they’ll gain a big following in the footsteps of publications who recently put up paywalls, like the Globe and Mail and the New York Times (who roped in 700,000 subscribers over the last two years, making them a crisp $150 million per year).
Naturally our online content budgets are going to Netflix at the moment which means we’ll have to dig further into our pockets to stay up-to-date with website subscriptions. It’s a big deal for the circulation of news in Canada and fair payment for digital journalism, as we transition into a time where the internet just isn’t as free as it used to be. A friendly reminder that Toronto Standard continues to offer you cool articles at $0, so we figure you’ll probably be hanging out here more often.
Check out the Toronto Standard‘s suggestions for a happy media medium, as readers face the choice between a monthly subscription and the loss of the digital access we’ve gotten used to.