Delaware State News joins growing list of newspapers setting up paywalls
The Delaware State News has joined the parade of newspapers setting up “paywalls” that limit the number of stories that can be read each month at no charge.
The daily newspaper-website in Dover announced that subscribers, beginning in early November, will be limited to five free stories per month. Subscribers can pay what was described as a modest charge for getting all online.
The paper has been a holdout in rush toward paywalls, says a report in Delaware Business Now.
A part of Independent Media, the owner of papers in Delmarva, Florida and Arizona, the State News has upgraded its online presence in recent years after having a site that operated under the oddly named News Zap brand.
The News Journal, the state’s largest newspaper, imposed the free story limit years ago, but more recently went to a “hard paywall” that restricts the views of many stories to subscribers.
That paywall could be in question as The News Journal is on track to become part of Gatehouse, owner of weekly papers in Delaware that include the Dover Post and Middletown Transcript. None of the state’s Gatehouse papers has paywalls.
The Delaware Business Times also imposed a story limit on its business news website. The Times follows the lead of American City Business Journals, which generates revenue through subscriptions that give readers access to journals in dozens of cities.
The Delaware Business Now article continues with an exploration of the efficacy of paywalls.
It reports that paywalls are defended by media outlets as a way of covering the costs of reporting and editing staffs. Print media has been decimated by sharp declines in advertising and print subscriptions.
Evidence is at best mixed on the impact of paywalls on daily newspaper revenues, the Business Now article continues.
National outlets like the New York Times have reported gains in online subscription revenues.
However, smaller papers with less content have struggled to make paywalls into a significant revenue source. It’s a hard sell, since story counts are down as papers moved toward skeleton staffs.
In the meantime, no area radio or TV stations have turned to paywalls.