Cablevision‘s decision last October to put their Long Island paper Newsday behind a pay wall led to a lot of skeptics raising their eyebrows. After all, most newspapers that have tried charging for their online content have been major news organizations like The Wall Street Journal or The New York Times, or niche publications like entertainment trade mag Variety.
And so far, the prospects have seemed grim: Newsday.com has seen a major dip in traffic, both from month-to-month and compared to last year, which has led to the paper having to issue statements to calm jittery advertisers. Newsday itself is currently in tense negotiations with its editorial union, which is expected to have to take a 10 percent pay cut. And to make matters worse, it was just discovered that ex-Cablevision subscribers using inactive accounts have been able to bypass the $5-a-week Newsday.com fee through a loophole in their service plan.
Cablevision has always allowed Optimum Cable subscribers to access Newsday without having to pay an additional fee, but it turns out that even usernames and passwords for canceled Cablevision accounts still worked. Cablevision issued a statement today saying, “We are aware of the matter and expect it to be resolved in the next 24 hours.”
And while publications are still in the beginning phases of securing pay walls (as this conversation is relatively new), it’s just another piece of evidence that Cablevision’s experiment with Newsday‘s pay walls might not be successful in the long-run. Or maybe other papers will look to it as a model to follow, or learn from its mistakes.
Read More: Newsday.com’s Pay Wall Lets In Ex-Cablevision Subs –Multichannel News