Gannett said it expects the move to bring in an additional $100 million a year
AFP/Getty Images/File – Bill Pugliano
Gannett, the largest US newspaper chain, has announced plans to begin charging for online access to its 80 US dailies by the end of the year with the exception of flagship USA Today.
The McLean, Virginia-based Gannett said it expects the move to bring in an additional $100 million a year beginning in 2013 and it expects overall annual revenue growth of between two percent and four percent by 2015.
“We are going to charge for what is valuable and that’s our content, regardless of the platform, via a new content subscription model,” chief executive Gracia Martore said Wednesday at Gannett’s “Investor Day” in New York.
Several US newspapers have begun charging for access to their websites but Gannett would be the largest US newspaper chain to do so.
The Wall Street Journal, owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., has always charged online readers for full access to WSJ.com.
The New York Times began charging for full access to its website in March and the Times-owned Boston Globe followed suit in September.
The Gannett strategy is expected to mirror that of the Times and the Globe, which allow a reader to view a set number of articles each month before they are asked to pay.
Like other US newspapers, Gannett has been grappling with declining print advertising revenue, falling circulation and the migration of readers to free news online.
Besides USA Today, Gannett publishes 80 daily US newspapers, including The Louisville Courier-Journal, Des Moines Register and Reno Gazette-Journal, and more than 600 magazines and non-dailies. It also has 23 US television stations.
Its British operation, Newsquest, publishes newspapers, magazines and trade publications.
Gannett shares were down 1.28 percent at $15.41 in early afternoon trading on Wall Street.
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