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Herald-Mail will charge for unlimited access to website

Some content will be free to all website visitors, but other content will be metered

January 23, 2012|By HEATHER KEELS | heather.keels@herald-mail.com

On Jan. 31, The Herald-Mail will begin charging for some of the content on its website, www.herald-mail.com, Publisher Andy Bruns said.

The website will have a "meter" that allows each user 15 premium page views for free every 30 days. After passing the limit of 15 page views, the user will be asked to purchase an online subscription to view additional premium content.

The subscription will grant unlimited access to content on www.herald-mail.com.

"Simply put, I don't know what business can spend millions of dollars doing something and then give that product away for free, and survive," Bruns said.

Herald-Mail Digital Director Liz Thompson said free content that will not count toward the meter includes:

  • Breaking news stories
  • Views of the home page and section fronts
  • Classified ads
  • Photo galleries

Other content, including local stories and obituaries, will be considered premium content and will be subject to the 15-pages-per-month restriction for anyone who does not subscribe, she said.

Current print subscribers will have free access to all Web content as long as they remain print subscribers, Thompson said.

Those who are not current subscribers may purchase an online-only subscription for $5.99 per month.

The change comes as many major newspapers have successfully implemented similar metered models. The New York Times introduced a meter in March 2011 and The Baltimore Sun introduced one on Oct. 10, 2011.

Some other Tri-State-area papers, including the Public Opinion of Chambersburg, Pa., and the Waynesboro (Pa.) Record Herald, have already introduced metered websites.

The Herald-Mail is also introducing an iPad- and tablet-friendly e-edition that will be included with all print subscriptions beginning Jan. 31. The e-edition allows readers to view the traditional print layout of the paper on their computer or tablet.

By touching or clicking on a story in the e-edition, readers can open a window in which the story appears larger and can be read by scrolling down the page. Readers can flip pages by clicking “next.”

In February, subscribers and nonsubscribers will be able to access the e-edition by clicking on a link near the top of the herald-mail.com home page. After that trial period ends, only home-delivery subscribers will be able to access the e-edition at no additional cost.

Shortly after the newspaper is sent to the press each night, a link to the e-edition will be emailed to subscribers who sign up to receive it.

"It still feels like a traditional newspaper," Bruns said. "It’s just there a lot sooner."

More information about the e-edition and online subscriptions is available online at www.herald-mail.com/about/digital.

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