Washington Post to Add Paywall, Joining New York Times Model

Washington Post, facing flat revenue and struggling print sales, is “close” to adding a paywall to its online edition

The Washington Post is “close” to adding a paywall to its online edition, joining the pay model The New York Times has implemented, the Post itself reported.

The newspaper is likely to add a paywall in the middle of next year, using a system that allows readers unfettered access to a certain number of monthly articles, and then requests payment after those are read.

The New York Times started charging for online content in March 2011 and now has nearly 600,000 digital subscribers, a move toward re-establishing a steady subscriber base in the digital age as print readers have steadily declined.

The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times and Los Angeles Times also have pay models.

The Post has suffered from losses in advertising and circulation like most broadsheet newspapers, but has been additionally hit by problems in its once-highly profitable Kaplan education division.

The New York Times experiment has been significant, since it is a general news publication, not specifically focused at a business readership like the two others. The Times has managed to add online subscribers without losing major web readership or print subscriptions.

The paper has not confirmed the report, and a spokeswoman for the paper declined to coment to TheWrap. 

The company managed a third-quarter profit this year with revenue flat as its education division continued to struggle. The newspaper-publishing arm posted a 4.3% decline in revenue to $137.3 million, with print advertising declining 11% to $51.4 million.

Revenue generated by the company's newspaper online publishing activities, primarily washingtonpost.com and the online magazine Slate, was a relative bright spot, rose 13% to $26.9 million for the third quarter.