Has A New Sister,

The Boston Globe has rolled out a slick new subscription-only website at will combine the newspaper’s print stories with breaking news on a site designed for customers who want premium content they can read on multiple devices, from computers to tablets to smartphones.

Subscriptions run $3.99 a week, which calculates out to more than $200/year. Home delivery subscribers do not have to pay extra for the site but will need to register online to gain access.

The strategy at the Globe, which is owned by The New York Times Co. , is unique because the paper has decided to split its news brands – and The Boston Globe – into two distinct websites.

“ is essentially purely journalistic, and is more of a town square where you get news and information, but you can also buy tickets to events and exchange information and opinions with your neighbors,’’ said Globe Editor Martin Baron.

The Globe joins The Dallas Morning News, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal — all major American dailies with some form of digital subscription model in place. At The Dallas Morning News, editors anticipated a 40 percent drop in Web traffic due to its pay wall, but the paper’s publisher said page views and visitation are down about 20 percent.

While there are some upstarts in the local news space, it’s extremely difficult to replicate the offerings of a city’s newspaper of record. As newspaper owners and managers come to their senses, we’re going to see much more of this. My question as a voracious consumer of news isn’t about paid versus free, it’s about pricing. I may want to subscribe to several, or at least a handful, of prominent newspapers, but I’m not going to pay over a grand a year for the privilege.

Ideally, I’d love to see newspapers and cable companies, for that matter, unbundle their offerings in such a way that a reader might get just what she wants. For instance, what if she only wants to subscribe to the Business section or Sports section? A partial subscription need not cost more than $200/year. It could be offered for $20/year.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.