By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Subscriber-based debuts

Readers turning to this morning and clicking on “Today’s Globe” found something new — an invitation to register for the new, a paid site that will be getting a free trial for the rest of September. After that, it will cost $3.99 a week, which makes it among the more ambitious attempts to persuade online news consumers to pay for content.

I was among a number of media observers who were given a sneak preview last month by Globe publisher Chris Mayer and editor Marty Baron. I’ve got a longer take on the new site up at the Nieman Journalism Lab, focusing mainly on the site’s use of HTML5, which enables the Globe to offer a standalone app for the iPad and iPhone and avoid paying Apple its 30 percent cut.

Also, Nieman’s Joshua Benton offers four observations and asks lots of questions. Jeff Sonderman has a rundown at Poynter. Staci D. Kramer covers the launch for paidContent. And there’s plenty of coverage at itself, starting here.

Access to is included with any type of print subscription, including Sundays-only. Since the Sunday-paper-plus-GlobeReader has been our solution of choice for a while now, this is nothing but a plus here in Media Nation.

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  1. Dan Storms

    My local paper, The Day out of New London, CT, is also going with a tiered subscription plan starting this week. My wife and I stopped the physical paper more than a year ago because the free online version was generally sufficient (I like to get the paper in hand on Sundays because it’s a good excuse to go to the bakery next door to where I pick it up). We have found that we can do without most of the wire service stories that dominate the front section of the paper, or get them elsewhere, and the local/regional section just doesn’t contain enough real news to subscribe at nearly $200 a year. I like the Letters to the Editor, but that may be because they generally publish mine. Not sure if we are going to subscribe to the digital plus Sunday plan, even though I like the independent reporting the paper can do when it tries (its owned by a trust and can’t be bought out by the chains). It’s a dilemma.

  2. Michael Pahre

    They claim minimizing ads for the paid subscribers accessing content on, but they are still running one ad network and four (!) third-party web trackers on And its a slower website for me today than good old

  3. wilson tisdale

    The new format seems to have less content and didn’t recognize me as a registered user.

    • Dan Kennedy

      @Wilson: Not sure what you mean by “less content.” It’s the Globe. You will find additional stuff for free at Doesn’t seem to recognize any existing log-ins during the free period. I had to create one just for the trial.

  4. L.K. Collins

    Has there been any feedback on how the NYTimes is doing with their pay wall?

  5. Bill Dearing

    I wish the Globe all the best with this, and I hope it works for them. I feel like it’s overpriced, though.

    I’d sign in a second at half the price ($1.99/wk), but even at $3.50/wk it’s more than I’m be willing to pay. I cancelled the dead tree version earlier this year for the same reason.

    Maybe when you consider what it costs to produce a daily paper this price point is justified, but I don’t read every article in the paper (who does?) and for what I personally get out of the paper, I just can’t justify the expense at this price.

  6. Chris Walton

    Do you know whether the Globe will continue supporting or offering Globe Reader? I was hoping a mobile version of the newspaper would be available, like the NYTimes iPhone app, that downloads the complete newspaper for offline reading. HTML5 doesn’t support that, and I don’t have time to browse the paper looking for stories to “save” before leaving home in the morning.

    • Dan Kennedy

      @Chris: As I wrote, GlobeReader will continue indefinitely for that very reason, though there will be no further development and it will eventually be phased out. Kind of unusual these days not to at least have a 3G connection wherever you go, so I don’t know that the complete download is much in demand except among frequent fliers.

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