The Complete and Utter Failure of Newsday’s Pay Wall

Report says paper has amassed a grand total of 35 online subscriptions in three months

When Newsday announced in October that it was putting most of its online content behind a pay wall — one of the first big newspapers to do so — I referred to it as “a newspaper I often forget about.”

Well, I wasn’t alone.

Since October 28, the Long Island-based tabloid has amassed a grand total of 35 online subscriptions, according to the New York Observer. Thirty-five.

As a Long Island native I happen to follow on Twitter put it, that sounds like an "unmitigated disaster."

“It’s an abomination,” one staffer told the Observer.

The Cablevision-owned paper had been charging a $5 weekly fee for access to the entire site; subscribers to the print edition or Optimum Online — also owned by Cablevision — are allowed free access. The paper’s owners boast that is roughly 75 percent of Long Island.

The bundle with cable and Internet service was certainly intriguing, but it appears the general public outside the wall doesn’t feel it’s worth $5 to peer in.

And while I admittedly forget about the paper, the fact that this experiment is apparently failing is not insignificant, given the size of its print edition.

According to the Audit Bureau of Circulations, Newsday’s daily average paid circulation is 368,194 (426,510 on Sunday) making it the nation’s 12th largest newspaper in terms of circulation, but a distant third behind the Post and Daily News. The New York Post’s daily average is 558,140, with 357,168 on Sunday. The Daily News daily average is 602,857, with 644,766 on Sunday.

More to read:

Newsday to Charge for Online Content