Chad Frey

People are used to getting news for "free." I use quotes there, because I have never believed there is any free source of news. Consumers pay for something, somewhere along the line to access news. That might mean purchase of equipment, subscription to news organizations or delivery systems (think cable, Internet service providers, satellite radio providers and the like). News organizations and media companies are businesses. That fact is what has led to online metering — it's the new thing in the newspaper industry. Some have gone to full-blown paywalls, but we don't think that's the best way to go.

 

We announced "metering" of thekansan.com recently, and that has raised some both reader questions — and some ire. This is one of those times when no matter what decision we make, someone will be angry. Take the user from facebook above. She doesn't want us to sell ads, but she doesn't want to pay a subscription fee either.  As of Thursday, we will do both — just as we do for the print edition. We do have to make money — we are a business.

People are used to getting news for "free." I use quotes there, because I have never believed there is any free source of news. Consumers pay for something, somewhere along the line to access news. That might mean purchase of equipment, subscription to news organizations or delivery systems (think cable, Internet service providers, satellite radio providers and the like). News organizations and media companies are businesses, with employees and expenses to pay. That fact is what has led to online metering — it's the new thing in the newspaper industry. Some have gone to full-blown paywalls, but we don't think that's the best way to go.

A paywall would not allow readers to see anything, at all. In our model, readers will get to see breaking news, obits, video and blogs unfettered. News, sports and other sections will be metered. Each user gets 15 free pages each month. After that, there is a monthly or annual subscription fee to pay — depending on your choice.


Now, on to questions:

 

Why do I need to pay for content on thekansan.com? For several years now
anyone who wanted to see all the content on thekansan.com had the ability to do so.
That’s a strategy that built the website into what it is today, but it’s also a strategy that is not a sustainable business model. It costs a lot of money to manage and produce the content we place on the website, and the shift to sell subscriptions for full site access will help ensure the newspaper will continue to be able to provide for readers in the future.

What can I see for free? Our breaking news sections, multimedia and obituaries
are among the sections that will continue to be free.

What will I have to pay for? After reading 15 stories in specific sections, readers
will be asked to pay a monthly or annual subscription to gain unlimited digital
access for the site. Those sections include sports, features and lifestyles content, as
well as news and community sections accessed after the homepage.

If I subscribe to the print newspaper, will I still have to pay online? No, your
print subscription includes digital access. When prompted, select access for print
subscribers to set up a username and password for free access.

My whole family reads the paper. Can more than one family member be
covered by the online subscription? Families can share a subscription to the
newspaper’s website, but there will be only one login per customer.

How much content can I see without having to pay? Bear in mind that many
of the highest-trafficked portions of our website continue to be accessed for free,
including breaking news, obituaries videos, photo galleries and blogs. Beyond these
features, visitors will be able to read 15 articles a month in the for-pay sections.

If I read one story, then go back to check comments on it again, will that count
toward the 15 pages of content I get to view for free? No. Views of the same page
will not be counted more than once.

How do I pay to get an online subscription? It’s easy to sign up. When you view
your second article in a paid section you’ll be asked if you want to subscribe for full
site access. You can do so with a credit card through Press+’s secure website. Or, you
can wait to make the decision to subscribe until you’ve read 15 articles in the paid
sections. Access is instantaneous upon payment.

Why did you choose to allow readers only 15 articles before they have to

subscribe for full site access? We wanted to make sure infrequent visitors weren't forced to subscribe immediately. We want people to have the opportunity to get a sample of the  content we provide daily without having to subscribe immediately. We may experiment with the threshold that makes the most sense for our site, but for now we are sticking with 15 articles.

What is Press+? Press+ is our e-commerce system for digital subscriptions. When
you subscribe to thekansan.com, you will create a Press+ account, and Press+ will
charge your credit card for the subscription amount. The charge will appear on your
credit card statement as “Press Plus” in the amount of your subscription.

Is the popup “subscribe” window a secure URL? Yes. If you right-click on the
window and “view frame info” or “frame source,” you'll see it's an https URL.
How will digital subscriptions be billed? We accept major credit cards. Subscriptions
are billed every 30 days for monthly subscriptions or every 360 days for annual
subscriptions. Your subscription renews automatically, and you are charged in
advance of each billing cycle unless you cancel. Note: Because Press+ is managing
the billing for your digital subscription, the charge on your credit card statement
will say “Press Plus” rather than The Newton Kansan.

Can I pay by check, invoice, or PayPal? No. All payments are via credit card.
What is the cancellation policy? You will be able to cancel your subscription at any
time. When you cancel, we will stop charging your account the following billing
cycle. Your unlimited access will continue for the remainder of the current 30-day
period.