Newsday to Charge for Online Content

New York’s third-place tabloid to move Web site behind pay wall.

Last Updated: October 22, 2009 @ 2:54 PM

Another day, another experiment in paid content online.

Newsday — the Long Island, N.Y.-based tabloid (and a newspaper I’ll admit I often forget about) – said today that it is putting most of its Web content behind a pay wall.

Beginning Oct. 28, “Most of Newsday.com content will only be available to subscribers of Optimum Online, Newsday, or those willing to pay for it,” the Cablevision-owned paper said. (Optimum Online is owned by Cablevision.)

Those who are not subscribers to Optimum Online or the newspaper who still want access will “have to pay a $5 weekly fee” to access the entire site.

However, some parts of the site will remain free: the home page, school closings, weather, obituaries, classified and entertainment listings.

Newsday is calling the move “pioneering,” but the idea is nothing new.

It’s what Rupert Murdoch is threatening to do with all of his News Corp. Web sites, including the New York Post’s. (Just this week, the Wall Street Journal announced it would offer users a "professional" version of its Web site — at a premium price.) And the New York Times has been mulling some form of a paid-content model to stave off a slump in digital ad sales.

But the bundle with Cablevision, which reaches 2.5 million customers in the metropolitan area, is an intriguing one.

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.