The Augusta Chronicle Erects Paywall

Augusta National Golf Club, home of The Masters Golf Tournament, is extremely selective about who gets inside its walls to play its iconic golf course. Its local newspaper, The Augusta Chronicle, is now putting up a wall of its own, although the paywall being erected by the South’s oldest newspaper will presumably be easier to bypass than the gate at Augusta National.

paidContent reported that once readers reach a total of 100 premium articles accessed, they will be offered digital subscriptions for $6.95 per month, or $2.95 for those who already subscribe to the print edition.

According to paidContent, the site currently draws some 400,000 monthly unique visitors, totaling 8 million page views per month.

Executive editor Alan English told paidContent he believes The Augusta Chronicle will be able to mine higher CPMs (cost per thousand homes) from advertisers because the fact that viewers are paying for the content will prove that they are engaged, adding:

We are hearing (and seeing) how some advertisers are willing to pay a premium to target digital subscribers in projects on the iPad and on the Web. The big boys will drive this, and those experiences likely will help us build a model for local advertisers who want to target the same.

It’s just time to fix the mistake of giving everything away for free as we look to charging for access and subscriptions on tablets, apps, and in new ways. The relationship with a paying subscriber is intimate and meaningful for both sides, supporting the kind of journalism and business that delivers credible messages locally.

Our content has value in print or digitally. You pick the format. We do expect some switch behavior in both directions. This is part of an overall strategy that includes the launch of an iPad app, coordinating between the two.