September 30, 2013 Last Updated 4:32 pm

Dallas Morning News abandons paywall effort, launches premium content strategy

The Dallas Morning News announced this afternoon that it would be dumping its paywall and replacing it with a “Subscriber Content” strategy. Beginning tomorrow, the paywall gets lowered.

The premium digital offering will include “enhanced design and navigation, limited advertising, and access to unique subscriber benefits,” the paper announced.

“In the first quarter of 2011, we became one of the first daily newspapers to ask consumers to pay for the content we distributed digitally. Now, we are going to experiment with another approach,” said Jim Moroney, CEO and publisher of The Dallas Morning News.

The decision was the result of surveys the paper conducted that showed that readers despite a lower price few readers were willing to go all-digital.

DMN_Logo“What we concluded from this research was that subscribers were not paying for the content, so much as paying for how they wanted to consume the content we published. They were paying for a print experience. Now, we want to see if there are sufficient consumers who will pay for a premium digital experience,” Moroney said.

The Dallas Morning News is owned by A. H. Belo Corporation.

While The New York Times and a number of financial news properties have said they have successfully launched paywalls, few metro papers are reporting tremendous results. Large metro dailies, which once enjoyed partial news monopolies in their communities must today compete with national and international news organizations. As a result, while some might be willing to add a digital subscription to their monthly bills to read the NYT or WSJ, few want to do the same for their local paper.

Additionally, the reason many readers remain loyal to their print newspaper is the Sunday edition with its inserts. Some papers have attempted to marry digital subscriptions with limited print home delivery schemes. Few have succeeded with that strategy, while newspaper chains such as Advance have forced the issue by cutting back on the number of days they will deliver to your driveway (previously to your doorstep). This forces the reader to subscribe to the digital product on a daily basis – or at least these chains hope that is what the reaction of the reader will be.