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Online media matters

Living Can Kill You

Newspaper subscriptions

Following on the heels of a study saying Canadian news sites lost ground to CNN post-September 11, The Globe and Mail reports the Winnipeg Free Press is moving to a pay model.

But it’s not your typical subscription plan.

Starting this Monday, reading the Free Press online will cost more than $200-a-year—the price is $350 for those outside of Manitoba. Non-subscribers (of which I bet there will be many) get nothing but ads, ads, and obituaries.

In comparison, the The Wall Street Journal offers some free content, and its annual subscription is about $90.

Making the move all the more bizarre is online subscribers must order the printed newspaper—even then, access to the archives is limited to the past seven days.

Too bad the paper’s biz dev people didn’t read Steve Outing’s passionate column from yesterday on the subject.

With business plans like the Winnipeg Free Press’, it’s no wonder people are convinced subscriptions won’t work.

Guess Rogers’ and CanWest’s moves over the past couple of weeks is pretty clear now. The former just signed a deal with the latter to “share resources and promote each other”. The Post will now have content for its resurected sections, and Rogers can use CanWest’s to replace the hole created by the collapse of Excite@Home.

Both companies were noticeable silent on hiring back the nearly 200 people recently laid off.