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Los Angeles TimesUSA TODAY
On Monday, February 27, 2012 we received an email from The Los Angeles Times stating that effective March 5, 2012 they will start charging readers for accessing their online site.

The initial rate of 99 cents for four weeks, then  $1.99 a week with a total of $3.99 a week.

Here is what the email reads:

An important message to our readers…‏

Dear Readers,
We are making an exciting change to latimes.com, and we want you to
be the first to know how we’re evolving.
On March 5, we’re launching a membership program. If you’re an avid latimes.com
reader, but not currently a home delivery customer, we hope you’ll consider joining for
a nominal fee to get:
  • Unlimited digital access to all of The Times’
    award-winning news and information
  • Unique storytelling
  • Investigative reports
  • In-depth local news
  • Signature blogs
  • Compelling photo galleries
  • Original video content
  • Revealing data projects and analysis
Membership privileges also include:
  • Special opportunities at select Times events
  • Exclusive discounts and deals
  • Giveaways and contests
If you are already a subscriber, you simply need to follow a few registration steps to
activate your membership at no additional cost. Non-members can continue to browse
The Times online for limited reading and breaking news.
To activate or join on March 5, please visit latimes.com/membership.
As always, the Los Angeles Times is your all-access pass to the news, culture and
happenings that matter. Our high-quality journalism consistently wins the country’s
most prestigious accolades and provides you with the trusted news and information
crucial to navigating and enjoying Southern California. We believe our coverage — from
around the world and right down to your neighborhood — provides perspective and
incomparable value and we appreciate that you do too.
Eddy Hartenstein
Publisher and CEO
Kathy Thomson
President and COO

On February 24, 2012 Staff Writer Jerry Hirsch wrote: The Los Angeles Times will begin charging readers for access to its online news, joining a growing roster of major news organizations looking for a way to offset declines in revenue.

Starting March 5, online readers will be asked to buy a digital subscription at an initial rate of 99 cents for four weeks. Readers who do not subscribe will be able to read 15 stories in a 30-day period for free. There will be no digital access charge for subscribers of the printed newspaper.

Separately, The Times announced plans to launch a new weekly lifestyle section called Saturday for its print subscribers.

Other news outlets that have begun charging for online journalism include the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and the Dallas Morning News. Gannett, the nation’s largest newspaper company, this week announced plans to launch a similar program at 80 publications, saying it could boost earnings by $100 million in 2013.

Digital subscription programs are intended to increase revenue and reverse a long slide in paid subscriptions for printed newspapers as more people go to the Internet for news.

“We want to be able to serve customers when they want the news and where they want it,” said Kathy Thomson, president and chief operating officer of Los Angeles Times Media Group.

After the 99 cents for the first four weeks, the rate will rise to $1.99 a week in a package that also includes the Sunday newspaper. Digital-only access will cost $3.99 a week.

The Times priced the digital subscription with the Sunday newspaper at a lower rate because they are complementary products, Thomson said. The Sunday edition of The Times has the most advertising and readership, making that the company’s most profitable publication day.

“Every newspaper that has launched a digital product has been pleased with the results,” said Edward Atorino, media analyst at Benchmark Co. in New York. “No one has said it is a bummer.”

Although more people read Times content than ever before because of the Internet, it has seen print circulation drop, as have many other newspapers. Paid daily circulation for the newspaper averaged about 575,000 for the six months ended in September 2011, down about 200,000 from the same period five years earlier. Sunday circulation has fallen by about 265,000 to just over 900,000 during the same time span.

Although digital payment plans are commonly known as “paywalls,” The Times is billing its plan as a “membership program” that will include retail discounts, deals and giveaways, as well as access to digital news.

Times readers who access online news through a mobile phone, iPad or other tablet app won’t have to pay for now, although the company plans to charge in the future, Thomson said.

Newspapers are taking this so-called porous approach to establishing paywalls because they don’t want to erode the Web traffic they generate. The Times was the third-most-viewed U.S. newspaper website in 2011, averaging nearly 17 million unique visitors a month, according to ComScore Inc., a web analytics company. The New York Times and the Washington Post rank first and second, respectively.

To read the entire story visit Los Angeles Times at http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fiw-times-20120224,0,1301270.story

Photo credit to: Los Angeles Times

Editor’s Note: Should we start charging our online readers too? We do not charge nothing at all for our services. We are independent media company who have hard working people the work for pennies or nothing at all. Any on out there interested to become our paid subscribers? or advertise here your products, events, brand, etc and perhaps we can become big online outlet (As of now we are reaching over 2 million per month), but we promise not to charge you a penny for reading our content online.

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