COLUMBIA – The Columbia Daily Tribune will start charging Dec. 1 for content on its website and mobile devices.
Options for this so-called paywall include single-item purchases, daily, monthly and annual subscriptions.
The annual cost of an online-only subscription will be $96, or $8 per month. A daily print subscription for 52 weeks currently costs $164.68. After Dec. 1, print subscribers can pay an additional $1 per month to have unlimited online access.
Current print subscribers will have free access to online content until Jan. 1 or until their subscription renewal date, whichever is later.
Online viewers without a subscription can view up to 10 articles per month at no charge.
According to a news release from the Tribune, certain content on the website will remain free, including wire news from the Associated Press, classified advertisements, calendars, weather, coupons, puzzles and games, the home page and all section fronts, including sports and business.
The Tribune’s report on the change Tuesday received some support from readers but largely feedback expressing unhappiness with the decision.
As of 5:02 p.m. Tuesday, 96 comments indicated readers would not participate in the new plan. Many of the commentators lamented the upcoming loss of a free community forum.
The decision comes at a time when other news outlets are looking into revenue from online readers. According to the New York Times website, the publication will start charging for unlimited access to its online content in January.
The Santa Barbara News Press now charges $60 per year for online-only subscriptions. The Wall Street Journal charges $1.99 per week for its online content, although select articles are offered for free viewing.
In the Columbia Tribune's news release, Vice President Andy Waters said other newspapers were looking at ways to fit online subscriptions into their business strategies.
“We’ve been planning this for a long time,” he said.