Mixed opinions from readers after News Sentinel launches fees

Mixed opinions from readers after News Sentinel launches subscription fee

Posted:
Reading a Knoxville News Sentinel story online is now going to cost $11.99 a month. Reading a Knoxville News Sentinel story online is now going to cost $11.99 a month.
The Knoxville News Sentinel is among many newspapers nationwide struggling to stay afloat due to the Internet. The Knoxville News Sentinel is among many newspapers nationwide struggling to stay afloat due to the Internet.
News Sentinel Editor Jack McElroy says it's a business move which will add value to their news content and help the newspaper's future. News Sentinel Editor Jack McElroy says it's a business move which will add value to their news content and help the newspaper's future.

By LAURA HALM
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - For years, newspapers have been struggling to stay afloat as more people turn to the Internet for their news. That includes The Knoxville News Sentinel.

The paper implemented a paywall Monday for its online content, and many readers aren't happy about the change.

Reading a Knoxville News Sentinel story online is now going to cost $11.99 a month.

"It's worth it, it's 40 cents a day," said News Sentinel Editor Jack McElroy.

McElroy says it's a business move which will add value to their news content and help the newspaper's future.

"It's going to have some effect on the number of people on our site, but we think this is still a good business strategy. We think that the comments will be more civil and we'll have a higher level of discourse," added McElroy.

Not everyone is sold on the idea. Some readers commented on their website "Adios," "Bye," and "Holding off on a final decision to see how this all shakes down."

However, some readers say, "Excellent! Good riddance to the whiners." That's because non-subscribers can't comment on stories.

The News Sentinel isn't alone in the digital age. "A lot of newspapers have been going to some sort of digital subscription model," said McElroy.

Most newspapers, like The Tennessean or The Maryville Daily Times, charge a similar fee. While McElroy says he doesn't anticipate any drastic changes in advertising dollars, local marketing consultant Rick Laney disagrees.

Laney says a paywall is a failed business model. "Automatically you're reducing the number of eyes that look at your editorial content every day. You're reducing your audience and by default you're reducing your ad rates."

The News Sentinel says thousands of people signed up on the first day. Laney says this fee is a new revenue source.

"I don't know what the right business model for newspapers in 2013 is. I certainly hope it does well for the Knoxville News Sentinel. They're an important part of the East Tennessee community," added Laney.

Breaking news will continue to be available for free, including items like public safety issues or alerts. In some cases, breaking news will only be free for a few hours.

If you already have the paper delivered, you'll get free access to the website. You just have to fill out an online form to activate your account. Subscriptions for the website start at $11.99 per month.

Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WATE. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.