Dallas Morning News Trying To Get Freeloading Readers To Pay Up

Pay walls haven’t seen much success in the world of traditional media, but the Dallas Morning News is trying its hand at the brick and mortar. The newspaper will allow its print subscribers to view all content online, and will partition off some stories from readers without a $34 print or $17 monthly digital subscription. Digital-only subscriptions will allow readers to view content through browsers or via iPod or iPhone apps.

The newspaper says the plan will go into effect Feb. 15.

The Morning News cites the Wall Street Journal’s pay wall model and the New York Times’ forthcoming effort in its story announcing the plan.

Do you think pay walls will work at publications such as the Morning News, which are a cut below the likes of the Times and Journal in terms of national significance?

The Dallas Morning News announces new digital strategy, pricing [The Dallas Morning News via Movie City News]

Comments

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  1. KillerBee says:

    I’d have to say no. My local newspaper has a pay wall for selected articles. I don’t miss them one bit.

  2. Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

    I hear there’s this thing called the Internet…

    I can get the local news of any city in any country on Earth these days, it would seem. Pay walls aren’t exactly going to be the savior of the newspaper industry.

    • greggen says:

      You DO understand that news comes from newspapers.. If more newspapers restrict their content you will have less available content on the internet?

  3. Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

    I am announcing my new digital strategy:

    If its on the internet and I have to pay for it, I will find the same story elsewhere for free.

    If the world is coming to an end, or wall street crashes, it’s a big enough story that I can find it for free.

  4. Southern says:

    $34 a month. For a local, city newspaper. You gotta be shi**ing me.

    It’s no wonder they’re in trouble.

    • thewriteguy says:

      To compare, residents of Dallas can get a daily paper subscription to the New York Times for only $30 per month (which includes full access to the web version). The rates for USA Today and Wall Street Journal are even less.

    • Griking says:

      30 days a month on average. Generally a buck a paper with the Sunday edition costing more. $34 sounds about right.

  5. IphtashuFitz says:

    There are so many alternatives for getting news that paywalls will ultimately fail unless EVERY news organization implements one.

  6. mbd says:

    Freeloading implies taking advantage. Reading articles that the intentionally paper puts out on the internet for all to read is not freeloading.

    As too the pay wall, it will fail. There is just too many sources for free news.

  7. Beeker26 says:

    “Do you think pay walls will work at publications such as the Morning News, which are a cut below the likes of the Times and Journal in terms of national significance?”

    Nope.

  8. nopirates says:

    the news will always be available for free somewhere

  9. FireJayPa says:

    I don’t see what the big deal is, these journalists aren’t working for free. The time the publication puts forth into finding stories, doing due diligence, fact checking, editing and finally publishing the story costs money.

    You should be paying to access this information – unless of course you like being a cheapskate/deadbeat. And really – who here doesn’t enjoy taking the Sunday Paper to the bathroom and reading the sports section?

    • MrBeetle says:

      Once they start writing their own articles, doing the research, and actually performing the legwork let me know. For now, all they do is reprint AP stories for 99% of their info.

    • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

      Yes, I for one, enjoy taking the laptop in the bathroom.

    • tbax929 says:

      “And really – who here doesn’t enjoy taking the Sunday Paper to the bathroom and reading the sports section?”

      Me. I have found other alternatives for news, and most of them give it to me instantly. So, for me, newspapers are obsolete. And I write that as a former sports writer who was smart enough to jump off of the sinking ship that is print media.

    • Southern says:

      *Raises Hand*

      :-)

      That’s what they make smartphones for. :-) (or before that, phones with internet access or built in news feeds through the carrier)

      I haven’t had any print (newspaper or magazines) delivered to my home in … hmm … 7-8 years I guess?

      By the time you get a newspaper delivered, any news is, literally, “yesterdays news”.

      And I never read the sports section. Detest it. :-)

    • haggis for the soul says:

      Due dilligence made me laugh. If DMN is anything like the local newspapers I’ve experienced, you get AP news reprints, paid classified ads and “lifestyle” articles with more grammar and spelling errors than a third grade book report. And don’t newspapers accept all kinds of advertising money so that they’re answerable to everybody except the public they’re supposed to be reporting for? $34 a month for that? News, we hardly knew ye.

      • colorisnteverything says:

        Agreed. You just summed up my local paper. My parents still pay for it. There used to be a pay wall up for everything, but now most of the content can be accessed online.

      • liz.lemonade says:

        Speaking… I was in Dallas last week, and I picked up a copy of the Morning News at a grocery store for the heck of it. Yup. A little over half of the articles and reviews (especially in the “Guide” Arts/Culture section) were sourced either to the AP or “Jane Smith, Washington Post” and such.

        That said, I do agree with the original comment in the thread. Everyone complains that the media should “get with the times” because “everything should be available for free, dammit!” and “blogs are more reliable anyway!” Well, if you demand to read everything for free on your Adblock-enhanced browser, then how the hell will the newspaper make enough money to even support the website? The reason the DMN reprints so many AP articles is because they don’t make enough money to support their in-house journalists. And as for the next person who claims “they don’t make money because they suck!”… well, you’d still cheap out and read it online even if it didn’t “suck”.

    • George4478 says:

      >>The time the publication puts forth into finding stories, doing due diligence, fact checking, editing and finally publishing the story costs money.

      Good point, That’s why I read the NYT and trust them implicitly. Jason Blair’s stories are the best.

      Oh, wait….

    • regis-s says:

      You’re right. Somebody has to pay for the news. A lot of people just don’t think it should be them.

    • Mom says:

      Traditionally, print publications made most of their revenue through advertising, not through subscription fees. The subscription fees barely pay for the paper and ink. If you talk to the marketing manager of pretty much any print publication, you’ll find that the “customer” is actually the advertiser, and the salespeople sell ads, not newspapers. If you move that onto the internet, where the cost to publish is much lower, then free should be about the right price. The problem is that they’re not doing a good enough job generating ad revenues, so papers like the DMN are failing.

  10. daemonaquila says:

    If they want to charge for something, someone else will have it free. I’ll read the free version of the story (or hear it on the radio, or streamed by a station, or…) or go without, thanks. That kind of expense is just not worth it.

    I will pay for print media if a particular publication or single issue is worth it to me. However, in the past couple years that has been happening less and less. In their bid to save money, they’ve been cutting the size of the print pubs to the point it isn’t even worth it. Quality of writing has also gone down in many instances. In the rush to go online, a lot of publications really mangled their own business model.

  11. Gardius says:

    I can’t see this working out for them. $34 per month for local news is crazy. My municipality has a newspaper that costs $90 per year ($7.50 per month), and we subscribe because it provides more detailed information about our municipality than the nearest major city’s newspaper (which only discusses my area once every few issues). When you can get a lot of news on the internet for free through aggregates sites like the Associated Press, Reuters and Google News, the high price tag seems even more unreasonable. $408 per year is crazy, and even the digital-only $204 per year seems excessive for a non-tangible product.

  12. nbs2 says:

    If I get a Sunday only subscription, does that mean I will only be able to see the content that was posted on Sunday? I ask not for the Dallas Morning News, but I fear that WaPo may go from content distribution trendsetter (I remember using their telephone news delivery, their dialup news service, and early website – all of which were free) to hidden-behind-a-wall follower.

  13. ncboxer says:

    I can see charging for content if the content is valuable and can’t be easily gotten elsewhere. If the paper has exclusives and does investigative stories, or if the person just wants all their local news in one place instead of hunting around for it. $17 a month for digital only is ridiculous though. $5 a month might even be too much. You will have very few subscribers.

  14. Blueskylaw says:

    When banks got people hooked on ATM’s it went from free to pay, when people got hooked on EZ Pass it went from discount to pay, when people are getting hooked on Kindles some rates already cost more than the paper version and I predict that if and when the newspaper industry gets people to switch to their internet sites and drop the paper version it will cost you more than the paper version and the industry will spin some sorry story about how not having to buy paper and keeping huge printing presses and plants in working order costs alot of money.

  15. Marlin says:

    I have no problem paying, for orignal content.

    The problem is the majority of content is just reposted AP stories. Even CNN and others have a lot of AP stuff now.

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      Exactly. That’s one reason I canceled the paper delivery. Not only is half the content something I’ve already read online elsewhere, but I got really tired of calling to ask why my paper wasn’t there. I still get the Sunday paper sometimes for the ads, but that’s it.

  16. Consumeristing says:

    My WSJ Online subscription is barely worth $14/mo. I read only about a dozen interesting stories per week and they charge you for separate Iphone/Ipad editions (even if they’re basically the same). Though I do LOVE it when I post a WSJ link on my FB page and people say “It’s subscription only”. It is, it is. Makes you feel like a baller :)

  17. samonela says:

    Wait they still print newspapers?

    As far as local news goes, Dallas isn’t exactly a small town…seems to me larger, late breaking events, weather, and traffic can be easily found on their local TV news station websites. AND have accompanying video segments to compliment the stories.

  18. shepd says:

    My local newspaper charged for internet access to their stories for years. In the dumbest way possible: You had to buy a paper copy to get a login.

    Like everyone else, I just watched the local news on TV. Their subscription base has shrunk to the point they’re only a shell of what they once were. The huge building where they ran the company was sold off and now they operate from the basement of an almost defunct mall with 1/10th of the original staff.

    The paper is free on the internet now, but it’s too late. I still just watch it on TV, like everyone else. Partially because now the local paper is small and insignificant (due to the lack of staff) that the local TV news does far better coverage because they grew their viewer base substantially.

    I predict the same will happen to this newspaper, although it’ll probably be quicker, because unlike my town, I bet there’s competition in newspapers (on and offline) in Dallas.

  19. jehurey says:

    They should make the paper versions be only original local news stories and only come out Tuesday ($0.75), Friday ($0.75), and Sunday ($1.50)

    All the AP and Reuters reprints and local sports blogging should be on the website, and they can bombard the viewer with ads.

    The way it is now, its like a vicious cycle. They want as many ads as possible, so they make it a daily newspaper, they don’t have enough content on the newspaper, so nobody buys it. Since they have a low subscriber base, they raise the price of the new paper to a $1.50 for WEEKDAY editions. That’s just insane.

  20. Emperor Norton I says:

    Years ago, the Dallas Morning News went after after sites that deep linked to their stories.
    That didn’t work & I doubt this will either.

  21. pjstevens77 says:

    ya…good luck with that

  22. VectorVictor says:

    Perhaps the DMN should worry about their freeloading writers first. Any of the halfway competent staff went on to better pay gigs, and their sports department went on to create rumors for local university sports teams. I’ve seen better journalism skills via campus rags than what the DMN throws at the wall.

    Now, if the DMN and the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram were to join forces…the end result would either be a decent paper, or it would suck so bad that it would rip a hole in the fabric of space not seen since a n00b divided by zero on the internet.

    Smart money is on the hole.

  23. b612markt says:

    What a joke. I can’t imagine ANYONE would pay!

  24. Lolotehe says:

    But do I get a CueCat with that?

  25. oldwiz65 says:

    ha!

  26. Shadowfax says:

    Star Tribune is doing this as well. Everyone I’ve talked to just hits the back button when they hit the pay wall, and if it’s something they really want to know about, they find another source reporting the same thing.

  27. AllanG54 says:

    Cablevision lets any subscriber read Newsday on line for free because they own it). My wife buys the paper most days so I don’t bother but I hear that there are very few subscribers for the on line paper anyhow. I think the only one that can get away with this is the Wall Street Journal.

  28. grimdeath9740 says:

    I live in Dallas and work for the company that use to own the Dallas Morning News called Belo (now split into A.H. Belo and B.I.G. Belo), I can tell you this is going to fail…and fail hard. Paywalls have a terrible history of failure so I have no idea why they chose to go this route besides utter desperation.

    Coming from a background in the newspaper industry I feel really bad for the employees there. People sometimes forget the human cost to a declining industry. Fortunately for our half of Belo, the company owns the TV news station in Dallas (WFAA) and we are thrilled at the amount of traffic this will most likely drive there since all the content will still be free. I just hate it has to come at such a terrible price.

  29. jrobie says:

    I don’t pay higher prices for goods that are available for a lower price, and I don’t pay anything for services when I can get them for free. This is called being a rational economic actor, and is the duty of all participants in a capitalist economy. If you have a problem with capitalism you should go back to Russia and get your news from Pravda. :)

  30. lunasdude says:

    Ok, I just tried to renew my $110.00 Albuquerque Journal epaper subscription and guess what.
    They wanted $153.00 now and I would be forced to take the Sunday printed paper as well.
    When I called them to try and see if I could get the cheaper rate the subscriptions manager put a “not eligible for any promotion” on my account.
    They were unbelievably inflexible and uncaring towards a yearly subscriber.
    I guess I will not be supporting my local news paper anymore.
    And still they bury their collective head in the sand and wonder why news papers and magazines are closing everyday.

  31. jp7570-1 says:

    For more than 20 years, I received home delviery of the Dallas Morning News (DMN). I have seen constant subscription rate increases, the previous one being 60%! I cancelled my subscription last month before I heard about this new rate increase – itself a 13% bump over the previous rate.

    I left because DMN was constantly de-contenting the paper. The paper not only got physically smaller, there were fewer articles and sections. The TV weekly became an optional extra cost. (Of course, most p;eople get there tv information from their on-air guides these days.) The classified ads went largely online. And many articles were sourced from wire services or other papers.

    Today, I subscribe to the weekend edition of the NY Times, which allows access to their “protected” online content. But I also scan the major dailies from across the US and internationally.

    DMN’s only competition – the Dallas Times Herald (DTH) – stopped publication many years ago when it was acquired by DMN. (By the way, the name comes from the fact that the DMN was the “morning paper” and the DTH was the “afternoon paper”.) Without competition, the DMN has monopolized the market, its quality has suffered, and the price has constantly risen.

    Some say there is another daily – the Fort Worth Star-Telegram – but those who know this area know that Dallas and Fort Worth still prefer to have little to do with each other. The papers don’t really compete.

    For any DMN subscribers out there that want to protest this ridiculous rate increase, you can contact the publisher (Bob Mong) at rmong@dallasnews.com.

  32. operator207 says:

    The Fort Worth Star Telegram has a “press pass” which is a big book of coupons to restaurants and a card that gets you discounts at many DFW shops and restaurants. But you must buy the paper to get it. We made a deal with our paper thrower, that if we could get the paper for $50 a year, and the press pass, we would take it. He was ok with this. We saved ~$250 with the book of coupons and card last year. That after totaling up the $50 for the year of paper we paid for. We tried to just get the press pass, even told him to take our paper and give it to a church or something, as we do not read the paper, but he was required to deliver the paper. It sucks, as all we do is take the paper and put it right in the recycle bin out front when it is delivered. We just want the press pass.

  33. stevied says:

    My local paper requires registration to read historical (more than 1 day old) content.

    Not an issue. Registration is free to any person, no charges or subscriptions required.

    Then why have a registration process? To charge more $ for ad content.

    Personally I read the content relevent to 1 local suburban city. My ad content purportedly is biased to businesses from the city.

    Big whoope crap, because I use Ad Muncher and see no ads.

  34. gman863 says:

    Dallas is just catching up. The Houston Chronicle has been doing this for years.

    I pay $2/week for Thurs-Sun delivery and receive Mon-Wed as a “free” bonus via Internet. If I decided to go Internet only, I’d pay close to $30/month plus lose out on all the coupons in the Sunday paper.

    Interestingly, the only Internet editions I can access are Mon-Wed; the delivery days are blacked out online (even though they send a daily e-mail reminding me “Your Houston Chronicle is Ready for Viewing at 5:30 AM”).

    It appears Patty Hearst has put her bank robbery skills to use as the subscription manager for her family’s chain of newspapers.

  35. gman863 says:

    Dallas is just catching up. The Houston Chronicle has been doing this for years.

    I pay $2/week for Thurs-Sun delivery and receive Mon-Wed as a “free” bonus via Internet. If I decided to go Internet only, I’d pay close to $30/month plus lose out on all the coupons in the Sunday paper.

    Interestingly, the only Internet editions I can access are Mon-Wed; the delivery days are blacked out online (even though they send a daily e-mail reminding me “Your Houston Chronicle is Ready for Viewing at 5:30 AM”).

    It appears Patty Hearst has put her bank robbery skills to use as the subscription manager for her family’s chain of newspapers.

  36. pot_roast says:

    $17/mo for a ‘digital subscription?’ Sorry newspapers, but that’s just ridiculous. I don’t do paywalls, especially considering how bad a lot of articles are. Inaccurate information, bad grammar, etc.

    And if I’m paying $17/mo for it, I better not see a single bloody advertisement anywhere on the screen. Ever. But we all know how well that’s worked out for other sites…