published Saturday, April 27th, 2013

Newspaper to charge for online content

The Chattanooga Times Free Press will start charging to read the newspaper online next week for those who don't subscribe to the print edition.

The system will be a metered paywall, where readers will be allowed a number of free articles per month before having to pay. Breaking news stories, under the website's "latest news" section, will remain free. Video and Associated Press stories also will be available on the Times Free Press website free of charge.

Jason Taylor, president of the Times Free Press, said metered access will help the newspaper cover the costs of maintaining the region's biggest newsgathering team. The other major daily newspapers in Tennessee either already have moved or are moving this year to charge for their online content.

"We're the market leader for information, but the content we produce is very expensive and we want to price that in a way that makes sense and reflects the value of what we offer," Taylor said. "As much as we've been able to grow our print and online circulation, we also need to show solidarity with the industry as it moves toward charging for online content."

More than 300 American newspapers already charge for their online news content and others, including the Washington Post and the San Francisco Chronicle, recently have announced plans soon to start digital subscriptions.

The Times Free Press has been the leader in online traffic in the Chattanooga market for the past five years. The newspaper gets more than 9 million page views per month on its website.

The Times Free Press will allow online readers access to a limited number of stories per month. Those who subscribe to the newspaper and register online will have free access to the Web material on any day they receive the print edition.

"No other news source has the resources to deliver the volume of news, sports, business and feature articles or photos and videos as the Times Free Press website," said Alison Gerber, managing editor for the Times Free Press. "We believe this product is worth paying for no matter how you access it."

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