Strib Paywall Paying For Itself

The paywall that went up at the Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s website is, so far, bringing in more money than the site has lost due to reduced ad revenue.

The paper told MinnPost media critic David Brauer that page views in November, the first month the paywall was up, were down 15 percent. Ad revenues will fall per year in the five figures, which is a pretty vague number but there you are.

But in that month, the Strib has signed up thousands of new digital subscribers. Just under 5,000 of them were completely new subscribers who opted for a digital-only plan, and 1,150 also decided to add a Sunday print edition subscription to their tabs. And another 2,000 current Sunday subscribers added digital access to their current print subscriptions. Strib publisher Michael Klingensmith told Brauer that a digital subscriber is typically “worth” $100, so that’s $800,000 in revenue in the first month of the paywall.

“Although the subscriber pace should subside, the count should grind over $1 million as some current newsaholic refusniks get tired of banging their heads on the pay wall (and tweeting about it!) and simply fork over the cost of a double mocha latte or two a month,” Brauer writes.

$1 million is not much, considering the paper’s expected to make $40 million a year from circulation, but it’s still a net gain.