Earlier today The McClatchy Co. gave a strong impression that 2010 is going to be a good year: online ad sales are on the rise (as they’ve been elsewhere in the industry) and circulation numbers are up. So why would the company start experimenting with pay walls for one of its newspaper’s Web sites, as CEO Gary Pruitt mentioned today in a media conference call?
Pruitt stressed that 44 percent of ad money was currently coming through digital channels last quarter, and that an ad-based revenue system “isn’t broken…but we’ll learn from everything.” So despite the fact that a pay wall will hit a newspaper — like McClatchy’s Kansas City Star — exactly where McClatchy is beginning to see some growth (circulation, online ad sales) the company is planning to try out a pay wall model for a yet-unnamed title, if only for “ideological” reasons.
There are few details available at the moment, but McClatchy’s pay wall system will resemble more Variety‘s plan than The Wall Street Journal‘s, with users being able to view a certain number of sites before they are asked to pay. We can’t blame McClatchy for trying a system that everyone from The New York Times to regional dailies believe is the future of online revenue, but we’re glad that they’re not jumping headfirst into a model that has yet to be proven as successful as print ad sales once were.
Read More: Commentary: McClatchy To Experiment with Pay Model —Editor & Publisher
Previously: Can Classifieds, Online Ads Save McClatchy?