Another one of the New York Times Co’s newspaper properties is preparing to officially roll out a pay model for its website. The Boston Globe launched bostonglobe.com and starting Oct. 1 it will charge $3.99 per week for a digital-only subscription (print subscribers can read the site for free). Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage New England is sponsoring a free trial subscription through Sept. 30. Unlike its sister site NYTimes.com, a subscription for bostonglobe.com is required to access all content.
The flagship New York Times rolled out in March a pay model for its digital products allowing readers to access up to 20 articles per month for free. After hitting that limit, a reader must shell out for a digital subscription to read more, anywhere from about $15 to $35 a month depending on the package. Print subscribers get free access to the site, mobile and smartphone apps.
The experiment is a being closely watched in the U.S. newspaper industry as a guidepost to see if general interest newspapers can successfully charge for digital content. The early data seems encouraging: As of the New York Times’ last earnings report in July, the company said that the NYTimes.com had 224,000 digital subscribers.
The Boston Globe is taking a slightly different path, though, with the launch of bostonglobe.com, which complements boston.com — one of the earliest and one of the most successful newspaper sites in this country. Boston.com will continue to be completely free, featuring breaking news, local deals, and listings for area restaurants, music venues, clubs, etc. Meanwhile, bostonglobe.com highlights content from the print edition and will include videos, photo galleries, breaking news and other features like online chats and access to the archives.
“We recognize that readers of boston.com are going there for different reasons: to find out what’s happening in the news and to find out what’s going on around town,” said Christopher M. Mayer, the publisher of the Boston Globe in an interview. “The Boston Globe never had its own digital front door.”