Gannett to build online pay wall for newspaper content

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Gannett Co., the owner of 82 daily newspapers including The Indianapolis Star, will adopt a paid model for online content by the end of the year, the company announced at an investment conference Wednesday.

Online readers will be able view between five and 15 articles per month, depending on the newspaper, according to Bob Dickey, president of the McLean, Va.-based company’s community newspaper division.

Dickey said the initiative, similar to the New York Times pay model, will add $100 million in revenue to the publishing business by 2013.

Gannett, which also owns 23 television stations, expects total revenue to grow 2 percent to 4 percent annually over the next four years, Chief Financial Officer Paul Saleh said.

He predicts the publishing business will increase no more than 2 percent a year during that period, but digital revenue, which now accounts for les than a quarter of Gannett’s sales, is expected to rise 12 percent to 13 percent annually through 2015.

Flagship paper USA Today, which relies on bulk sales to hotels at discount rates, will not have the same online model as the other properties. Fifty-six percent of its 1.78 million average daily circulation is distributed in hotel lobbies and guest rooms, according to the latest publisher’s statement to the Audit Bureau of Circulations.

Also Wednesday, the company said it will raise its quarterly dividend to 20 cents a share from 8 cents. The payout is effective April 2 for holders of record on March 9.

The publisher’s goal is to return more than $1 billion to shareholders by 2015. Gannett reported a 33 percent decrease in fourth-quarter net income as revenue from newspaper advertising fell and circulation declined.

Gannett gained 4.2 percent to close at $15.61 Wednesday, its biggest one-day percentage increase since Dec. 9.



  • Thanks for the memories
    There is no way that I will submit to a 28%, YES 28% INCREASE after Sept 1. Cost$216/yr at present,$277/yr Sept 1. We have been a subscriber for over 60 years, time to say fairwell to a one time great paper but now a liberal trash rag for jockheads.
  • Local News is what you can't get online!
    I think this paywall is a must if the papers are going to survive. Why should the papers pay writers to research and write the news yet give it away for free. Sure, the wire service news that daily papers run can be found in hundreds of places online. What you cannot find is local news. If the local papers serve their community with local pertinent news, they will do well with this new pay model.
  • This is a joke - Right
    I am trying not to laugh at this latest release regarding the Star. I do not subscribe to, or read the Star. There are too many excellent online sources for daily news, and the management of the Star is now seeing the light coming through the tunnel. Print media reports history, not current events.
  • Laugh out loud
    I agree with most of the comments here. I don't subscribe to the Star, nor do I read the free online version, as the paper is now essentially devoid of meaningful content. I can't imagine why I would pay to look at it. Maybe the State will enter into a contract with Gannett to buy a few hundred thousand subscriptions a year and force us to pay for them, like with the synthetic gas plant.
  • Here's One, Paul
    ...like Dick Lugar claiming to be an inhabitant of Indiana as required by the US Constitution.
  • How will the $ be used?
    Probably not for retaining local writing talent. Will probably go directly to the fat salaries of the Gannett execs.
  • Hilarious
    What has entertained me recently on the Star's website is that pop-up or whatever you call it that comes up at the top of the page bragging about how they aren't afraid to step on toes, get dirty, etc. in their hard-hitting journalistic endeavors. It's like, oh I don't know, someone help me with a ridiculously unbelievable metaphor...
  • Who will pay?
    Since there is now a plethora of free news online, who exactly does Gannett think will want to pay for their tired, retread news stories? I gave up my print subscription because by the time I received the morning paper, I had already seen all the news in there online somewhere. Good luck with THAT Gannett.
  • Pay For What
    To echo what has been said by several, show me some content and I might be willing to pay. No way on earth I am paying for the current product.
  • Indystar.com
    I buy the print newspaper every day at the convenience store on the way to work at 5:45 a.m. Mainly I get a paper because my elderly mother loves to read it. I'm not interested in having home delivery, as the carrier doesn't deliver until after I've gone to work, and in the past my paper has been tossed on the wet grass and snow. Doesn't work for me. Gannett had better not charge much for the online edition, or nobody will read it.
  • Not Worried
    If the "paywall" is like anything else on the Star's website, it won't work.
  • Sad End To Paper With Proud History
    I pay for the IBJ.

    The Indy Star is joking if they think people will pay for their content.

    What content?

    Trying to read an Indy Star article is torture.

    First you have to fight a barrage of pop up ads, page redirects, and online surveys.

    Then you get to a page of stories with broken web links and typos.

    After reading one article from one of their "columnists", it becomes obvious they rarely leave their desk, go to public meetings, or even make phone calls.

    Some are so clueless on the subject matter, I doubt they know who to call or what questions to ask.

    Don't forget to turn the lights out when this publication ends.
  • Not much there
    It's true, the Star's level of content is too low to attract many paying customers online. People are more likely to move to the websites of tv stations, most of whom have better news coverage now than the Star. Sad but true.
  • Pay for What?
    Considering the lack of meaningful content, I wonder how many people will be willing to pay. I've already abandoned my print subscription and certainly not pay for stale news and "party crasher" pictures online.
  • Where?
    But where will I find out about new coffee shops opening in Carmel? How will I get pictures of drunk tramps hanging out in seedy bars? What will become of Ms Smith's insightful pieces on bike lanes? Will Mr Tully still be able to publish his MSNBC-esque propaganda?
  • any chance it will get better?
    i am curious if once on the other side of the wall if readers will still have to deal with dead links, a barrage of pop-ups, poor design, and laughable "reporting." there are some genuinely talented people that work for the star, and i am sure, for other gannett publications, but until quality comes back readership will continue to tank.
  • Gannett Exiting Community News
    I had a friend visit from Fort Wayne that was shocked at seeing the printed Indianapolis Star.

    They couldn't believe it took them less than 5 minutes to read the entire Sunday paper.

    They asked, "How could the community newspaper in the states business and political capitol have no original news stories"?

    Fort Wayne has TWO daily newspapers that put the IndyStar to shame.
  • Indy Star is not NY Times
    This will be the end of the Indianapolis Star.

    They keep cutting reporters and produce a weak product with countless errors.

    Few people will pay money to browse press releases, associated press clippings, and poorly researched and written news articles.

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