Turning on meter for online news

2011-07-31T00:00:00Z Turning on meter for online newsChad Baldwin Casper Star-Tribune Online
July 31, 2011 12:00 am  • 

‌The digital revolution has brought dramatic change to the newspaper industry, and Casper Star-Tribune Communications is part of that wave.

While our printed product remains the heart of our business and still enjoys wide distribution in our big state, more and more people around Wyoming and beyond are getting Star-Tribune news, advertising and other information through digital means: our website, trib.com; our mobile site, m.trib.com; and our mobile apps.

When our digital news delivery started, trib.com consisted mostly of items in each day’s newspaper, updated early every morning. That has changed. Now trib.com visitors can find breaking news and updates throughout the day, blogs and Twitter and Facebook updates by Star-Tribune staffers, photo galleries, videos, readers’ comments on our stories, and interactive graphics. In many ways, trib.com has become a separate product from the printed Star-Tribune, and I expect that evolution to continue as technology and our staff’s skill level keep improving.

To this point, all of our online content has been available free of charge to anyone who has a computer and Internet service. But we’ve reached the stage in the development of our digital news delivery that we’re ready to take the next step: charging for some online content.

Starting Monday, people who regularly log onto trib.com for news will be asked to pay for access after reading

15 stories per month.

Here’s how it will work.

Users will receive 15 free page views of news content each month. Those views will be metered. Once a user reaches the 15-story threshold, he’ll be required to pay a nominal fee before continuing to use the site.

There will be two pay levels. Those who currently subscribe to the printed Star-Tribune will qualify for a price break. They’ll be asked to pay $2.95 per month or $29.50 per year. Those who do not subscribe to the newspaper will be asked to pay $6.95 per month or $69.50 per year.

Payment will be handled securely online. Access will be instantaneous upon registration.

People who obtain their news via Internet are used to getting the information for free. But we believe trib.com has become a product of significant value, and it’s not asking too much to have its regular users contribute to the expense of making it happen.

While access to trib.com for our most active users won’t be free, it’ll still be a pretty darned good deal: The monthly cost for print subscribers will equal the average cost of a trip to Starbucks. For those who aren’t print subscribers, it’ll cost the same as two trips to Starbucks.

It’s also worth pointing out that many newspapers have been charging for online access for some time. Others, like the Star-Tribune, are just joining the club. Some, including several Wyoming newspapers, charge to access any news content, with no allowance for any free website visits such as our 15-view threshold.

And I can say with certainty that no Wyoming news site has anything close to the immediacy, breadth and depth of the online report you’ll find at trib.com. We by far have more journalists working to cover Natrona County and Wyoming than any other media organization. Some online “aggregators” populate their sites with headlines and links from the Star-Tribune and trib.com, but the news originates with our hard-working staff of reporters, editors, designers, photographers and videographers.

I’m confident you’ll find the $2.95 or $6.95 per month well worth the investment.

Whether you read the Star-Tribune in print or online — there are many people who do both — I encourage you to keep reading. We remain committed to keeping you informed about important developments in Casper, Wyoming and the world, to giving you information that helps you make decisions about your lives, to telling you about interesting people in our communities, and to giving you something to smile about.

Contact Editor Chad Baldwin at chad.baldwin@trib.com or 30-7-266-0545.

Copyright 2015 Casper Star-Tribune Online. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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