Post-Dispatch parent to charge for some online access

The parent of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Lee Enterprises, has announced intent to implement subscriptions for online access before the end of this year in most markets. (Details here.)

The company currently has papers in 52 markets but did not comment whether or not the P-D will be included. As Lee’s largest entity, it would be surprising to me if it was excluded.

Lee began a paywall trial with six papers last August that they now consider a success. They may, however, choose different pricing and content models in different markets.  In other words, until something is announced, nothing is clear.

Having once gone through a painful conversion from proving unlimited free content to a model partially based on subscription fees, I can understand on one level what Lee has and will be going through.

Granted, I was peanuts compared to the entity which proudly touts itself as “the #1 St. Louis website.” Though I did not declare bankruptcy as Lee did, I learned a long time ago that free access won’t pay the bills.

Many newspapers all over the globe are struggling to turn a profit in the growing digital world. I can’t blame Lee for trying.

Here is hoping if the new policy is implemented in St. Louis that their Cardinals coverage will not be negatively impacted.

(P.S. For those looking for the minor league spring training notebook, games were not played Wednesday due to wet fields. They’ll be back tomorrow, hopefully.)

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