Friday, August 16, 2013

San Francisco Chronicle Drops Its Paywall

The San Francisco Chronicle will publish ALL its content on both and, without a paywall. The Chronicle launched its paywalled site, — which featured premium content — in late March.

“SFGate will continue to provide readers with a broad spectrum of content as well as all Chronicle reports and columns,” Chronicle Publisher Jeffrey Johnson and President Joanne Bradford said in a statement to Eve Batey of The San Francisco Appeal (a Chronicle rep later sent Poynter the same statement). “The site will continue to provide readers with an online version that replicates a newspaper experience and reflects the changes in the news throughout the day.”

“We will continue to increase the unique assets that distinguish, including design features, utility and unique offerings to subscribers that differentiates it from our other content platforms,” Johnson and Bradford say in their statement.

I really think the web site advertising model for newspapers is probably the best model, with ancillary paid for products. If a city paper can't generate traffic to create strong revenue via sidebar advertising, it is one pretty sad newspaper to start with.

My guess is that Bezos might go in this direction with WaPo and bring on many new reporters and columnists.


  1. Good, because after they forced me to retire I'm not able to afford their cost for ink or an online subscription.

  2. I hate to say I told you so, but I told you so. Actually I don't hate saying that I told you so in this instance, SFGate. How long before you just merge the two sites together and eliminate I bet its gone before the end of the year (like I predicted the paywall attempt would not last a year...You guys barely made it 6 months!)