Economist Dabbles in Online Paid Model

Joining the scramble of publishers looking to generate more money from readers, The Economist is experimenting with a pay model, the British news and business weekly announced.
 
The Economist—which only made its Web site available to non-subscribers two years ago—currently lets non-subscribers access content that’s up to a year old. Under the test, starting Oct. 13, the pay wall will apply to all content that’s over 90 days old.
 
Also, the online version of the printed magazine, called This Week’s Print Edition, will be available to subscribers only.
 
“Our intention is to continue to develop intelligent discussion as a free, advertising-supported experience, but to charge for the weekly magazine online,” said Ben Edwards, the Economist’s online publisher.
 
The Economist considers the online version of the print edition to be premium content and a product it wants to reserve for its most loyal readers, he continued.
 
Across the print industry, publishers are seeking ways to shift the revenue burden to consumers as ad spending plummets.
 
The Economist acknowledged recently that it was working on a reader-paid digital product that would replicate the print magazine-reading experience and may create paid-for online events.
 
Newsweek also is developing plans to create a level of paid content on its Web site on an a la carte basis, according to Geoff Reiss, vp, general manager, Newsweek Digital, while The New Yorker plans to test pay models in the coming months.