Would you pay to read the news online?
A few days ago, the Globe and Mail started charging its readers for full access to their online content – joining other Canadian newspapers like the Vancouver Sun, Vancouver Province, Ottawa Citizen, and National Post (only for international readers) – who have already implemented paywalls on their sites.
With the Globe, you will be allowed to read 10 free articles online each month. An initial subscription will run you just $0.99 for the first month, and $19.99 for every month afterwards for an annual cost of $239.88. This gives you unlimited access to the Globe and Mail website across multiple platforms (computer, smartphone, tablet).
Now, I love getting my news online for free, but I get why paywalls exist. And the Globe and Mail just so happens to have some amazing staff writers that I just love. But that being said, I’m not a regular reader so paying $20/month for a subscription just isn’t going to happen. I get my news from the Toronto Star because I work for them, and I read CBC every day because I like the way their website is set up, and the comments amuse me.
When I tweeted about what the paywall meant to casual readers like me, Claire Neary (Online Editor with the Globe’s business sites) was quick to respond:
She went onto tweet that the Globe would be socially porous. And of course, she’s right. All I was focused on was the 10 free articles I would be allowed to read online each month. I remember reading somewhere in a Globe article about the paywall introduction. Readers who find stories through social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook, as well as search engines and blogs won’t have those stories counted against their monthly cap. And since I click through to articles from Twitter and do a lot of internet searching, I should be fine in the long run.
I went to Twitter to test out whether I could read articles that have been tweeted, and with the links I tried, they all worked. However, when I used Google to search for that Globe article about introducing the paywall (so I could link to it), two articles came up. One link let me read an article. The other link gave me a subscription pop-up. And, when I clicked on a link to a Globe article from another blog, I got the subscription pop-up again. So maybe there are still a few bugs that need to be worked out.
I also found that I couldn’t go back to read an article that was already part of my 10 freebies per month, and that was a little disappointing because sometimes my browser will crash, and I’ve been known to accidentally close an article, or save a really long article to read later.
That all being said, I think that if my favourite news sites were to one day put up a paywall, I would fork over my money. After all, I pay for books, music, and movies – so I don’t see why it should be any different when it comes to newspapers.
If your favourite newspaper started charging an online subscription, would you pay?
Author: Krystal Yee
I’m a personal finance blogger and marketing professional based in Vancouver. I’m a former Toronto Star (Moneyville) columnist, author of The Beginner’s Guide to Saving and Investing, and co-founder of the Canadian Personal Finance Conference. When I’m not working, you can usually find me running, climbing, playing field hockey, or plotting my next adventure.