Get your credit cards out, Canada — you will soon have to pay to access some of your favourite publications online.
On Thursday, The Globe and Mail announced that the paper will implement a metred paywall by the fall, in which online visitors will be required to pay to view more than a certain number of stories each month.
"We have chosen to go for the big move rather than do it a step at a time," Publisher and chief executive officer Phillip Crawley said during an all-staff meeting. "Based on what we see going on in the advertising market, we've decided to go for it now. We had already made the decision, it was a case of how quickly we would do it."
But The Globe is not alone in their plans to implement paywalls.
Postmedia Network and Rogers Media - which publishes Chatelaine and Maclean's magazines - will, by year's end, be charging more customers money to read articles on their respective websites. The move is deemed necessary for an industry that is bleeding money in challenging economic times.
Postmedia, which publishes the National Post and big-city dailies such as the Vancouver Sun and Ottawa Citizen, is predicting an $11-million loss in the second quarter of 2012 due to weakness in both print and digital advertising.
According to a report in The Globe, Postmedia's print advertising revenue decreased 10 per cent to $122-million in the second quarter compared with the same period in 2011. Meanwhile, the company's digital ad revenue grew by only 0.5 per cent from the same quarter last year.
Postmedia and other newspaper publishers are hoping to emulate the success of The New York Times' digital paywall.
According to the Daily News, in the past year, The New York Times has seen a 73 per cent increase in subscribers, mostly because of digital content. In fact, digital subscribers now outpace print subscribers.
Here's what you can expect from the websites of Canada's biggest newspapers over the next year (Source: Globe and Mail):
The publisher of Canada's largest newspaper - The Toronto Star - still allows free access to its flagship paper but it is experimenting with a metered model at the Hamilton Spectator. The Spectator allows 35 views a month, before requesting that users pay $6.95 a month (home subscribers pay $2.95).
Globe and Mail:
The Globe has not determined the number of free articles per month that will available to non-subscribers under their new paywall system, nor has it announced a pricing strategy.
The paper has also asked employees to take unpaid leaves this summer in an attempt to temporarily reduce costs.
Postmedia has spent the past year experimenting with online subscriptions at some of its newspapers.
The Montreal Gazette, for example, allows 20 free articles a month before asking users to subscribe for $6.10. Print subscribers get free access.
The company plans to expand their paywall to other titles - including the Ottawa Citizen, Vancouver Sun and Vancouver Province - before fall. The National Post is also expected to implement a modified paywall, though it's not clear yet what it will include.
Rogers has restricted access to its trade magazines for a number of years. It plans to implement paywalls to its marquee properties Chatelaine and Maclean's by the end of 2012.