SF Chronicle's paywall comes down after only four months

After less than four months, the San Francisco Chronicle has torn down its paywall, saying little about what led to the decision. I presume that the signup numbers were very very low, and that the drop in ad-views was sufficiently alarming that it made management reconsider.

Staffers were informed of the move during a meeting Monday afternoon at the newspaper's downtown San Francisco office, according to the SFWeekly. Oddly, SFChronicle.com subscribers will still have the option of paying for access to the premium-content Web site even though it will all now be freely available at SFGate.com, the free weekly alternative newspaper reported.

Chronicle representatives declined to comment on whether it had dismantled the paywall, saying that it was now publishing San Francisco Chronicle content to both Web sites.

"Our goal is to offer readers as many choices as possible to access our content when and how they want it," the newspaper said in a statement. "SFGate will continue to provide readers with a broad spectrum of content as well as all Chronicle reports and columns. The SFChronicle.com site will continue to provide readers with an online version that replicates a newspaper experience and reflects the changes in the news throughout the day."

SF Chronicle said to demolish paywall after four months [Steven Musil/Cnet]

(via Techdirt)

Notable Replies

  1. jerwin says:

    Some people like to get their news from a single source each day-- and they read that source in depth. Others read whatever's available. Paywalls penalize the former-- the regular reader.

    I've noticed that because I subscribe to a source, I tend to read it to the exclusion of other sources. Then again, I used to read the Sunday papers for hours.

  2. The Chronicle had a bad monetization model. I'd never pay to read the Chronicle, but I'd certainly pay a yearly fee to have all of its content blocked. I'd even pay to block just the comments section, which, I'm sure, is even now blaming the entire fiasco on "the illegals".

  3. The Internet is loaded with free and interesting user generated content. People who used to read newspapers for something to do, don't have to do that now.

  4. jerwin says:

    I might pay to have the daily mail blocked. Perhaps a plugin that suppresses daily mail urls.

  5. Ratel says:

    They could seriously save everyone a lot of time and just allow posters to login with their Stormfront accounts.

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