On Sept. 24, The Monett Times will join hundreds of newspapers across the country in charging for access to online content. Current print subscribers will maintain access as part of their basic subscription, but online-only users will be asked to pay after surpassing a limited number of story views per month.
"The good news is that print subscribers will continue to receive unlimited access to www.monett-times.com as part of their basic subscription," said Mike Schlichtman, co-publisher of The Times.
In other words, subscribing to The Monett Times, which includes many features unavailable online -- like coupons, pre-print inserts, weekly TV listings and comic strips -- just became even more valuable.
To gain premium access, print subscribers must register at www.monett-times.com or call 1-800-444-4812. By doing so, print subscribers will be able to access all premium content on www.monett-times.com whenever they want -- from breaking news to photo galleries to online contests.
If you are not a home delivery subscriber, Schlichtman explained that online readers will have free access to a limited number of articles each month. Once the limit is exceeded, users will be asked to become a digital or print subscriber.
"Most people understand why The Monett Times is launching a pay system for its website," Schlichtman said. "The fact is that online advertising alone isn't enough to support a newspaper's digital operation. A pay system not only generates important revenue to support original journalism, it actually makes the audience more valuable to the advertisers."
Another factor in the decision to go ahead with a new system for accessing online content was based on feedback the newspaper received after testing a Google survey model on The Monett Times website. Under this model, online readers were asked to answer random questions before being allowed access to website content.
"This survey was initially implemented to help offset the cost of providing free news online," said Schlichtman. "We decided to discontinue the Google survey questions with the less intrusive metered paywall. This decision was based on comments we received from our online readers." In launching the pay system for its web site, The Monett Times joins newspapers large and small who have recently done the same thing, including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Chicago Sun-Times, Dallas Morning News, Boston Globe, Southeast Missourian, Paducah Sun and Columbia Daily Tribune, to name a few.
"The Monett Times remains uniquely positioned to keep you informed of what's going on in your community -- no matter how you access your news," Schlichtman said. "Launching our digital subscription model allows us to continue providing quality news you can trust. We realize this might sound a little complicated but feel free to contact our service representatives at the 1-800-444-4812 for help."