Since I was born and raised in LA and now live in the Chicago area I’ve made it a habit every morning to visit the LA Times website to see what’s going on in my hometown, and most importantly see what’s going with my hometown sports teams. But I’m not doing that anymore. I got an e-mail a couple weeks back from the LA Times saying they were soon going to be charging for their online content.
When I went to the site Saturday morning lo and behold every time I clicked on an article it asked me to sign up to view the content. I’m afraid my well worn path to their website every day is over. And it’s not that I begrudge them trying to make money from their content; we all know free is not a good business model, unless you can afford to give something away by making up the revenue, and profits, elsewhere.
Here is a news story from Yahoo News about this, and how other news organizations are trying to replicate the Wall Street Journal’s success in charging for access to content:
Like other US newspapers, the Los Angeles Times has been grappling with declining print advertising revenue and falling circulation and seeking new sources of revenue.
The Tribune Co., which owns 23 television stations in addition to newspapers in Chicago, Los Angeles, Baltimore, Orlando and other cities, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in December 2008.
The Wall Street Journal, owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., has always charged online readers for full access to WSJ.com.
The New York Times began charging for full access to its website last March and the Times-owned Boston Globe followed suit in September. Another major newspaper, The Dallas Morning News, is also charging online readers.
The Los Angeles Times said its daily circulation had dropped to 575,000 for the six months that ended in September 2011, down from about 775,000 five years earlier.
The LATimes.com website was the third-most visited US newspaper site last year, according to Web tracking company comScore, trailing those of The New York Times and The Washington Post.
It is really difficult to successfully charge people for something you have been giving them for free for so long. It will be interesting to see if the LA Times can find enough liberals who will to pay the four bucks a week to access the site so that they stay the third most visited newspaper site in the country. I know they’ve lost at least one daily visitor.