Beginning on March 5, visiting latimes.com will no longer be free. Today, the LA Times announced plans for a new online subscription service, joining the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, among several other other major papers, in putting its website behind a paywall. Full access to latimes.com will initially cost readers 99 cents for four weeks. Those who don’t subscribe will be allowed to access 15 stories each 30 day period for free.
More from the Times:
After the 99 cents for the first four weeks, the rate will rise to $1.99 a week in a package that also includes the Sunday newspaper. Digital-only access will cost $3.99. Online access will be included at no extra charge for print subscribers.
The paywall is a bold move, but seems like a smart idea. The New York Times launched its paywall without diminishing its web traffic. It did, however, slow the site’s growth.
With the LA Times, packaging the digital subscription with the Sunday edition is a very good idea. The Times’ web traffic has been skyrocketing as of late, but its Sunday circulation has been waning precipitously. If this move gets the Sunday numbers back up, in exchange for a service the paper had already been providing for free, that’s a tough plan to argue with.
The Times also announced plans to launch a new weekly lifestyle section called Saturday that will be available to print subscribers. The section will debut on March 10 and will combine what used to be the Health, Food and Home sections.
Previously on FishbowlLA: Is the LA Times Going Behind a Paywall?