Variety to Put Web content Behind "Pay Wall"

Variety to Put Web content Behind "Pay Wall"

Popular Hollywood trade newspaper Variety will, starting Thursday, put all its web content behind a "pay wall", thereby reserving its online content for paid subscribers only, all the while hoping that its advertisers would stay around despite the lower traffic. Gradually, the newspaper is planning on shutting off free access completely, asking 1 in 10 visitors for a username and password that will be given to paying readers.

In nearly 2 months, the online newspaper plans to completely block free access, except for a mere 5 free page views in a month, and this will end an experiment with completely free content that was started by the publisher in October 2006.

"We fundamentally believe that the readers should pay one price and get all or any of our content. If you don't pay, you don't get anything", said Neil Stiles, President of Variety Group.

To begin with, Variety plans on charging a promotional subscription rate of $248 a year for access to any of its content, which would include the daily and weekly prints, web content and the iPhone application, which is what current subscribers of the print version pay on an average.

With the move, the newspaper is fully aware that it would lose a majority of its 2.5 million monthly online visitors, but it seems that it values the 25,000 daily version and 30,000 weekly version subscriptions more.

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