Daily Herald to charge for online access
Arlington Heights-based Daily Herald, which publishes local newspapers throughout the Chicago suburbs, including Elgin, will begin charging for online access to its content starting next week, the paper announced today.
In making the announcement, Ray also outlined details of a Subscriber Total Access package that will give print subscribers access to Daily Herald content on all digital platforms at a discounted $1-per-week rate, compared to a $19.99 30-day fee that will be charged to digital-only subscribers.
As part of the initiative, the newspaper is introducing an array of new digital products — an iPad application, improvements in its smartphone apps, an app for Android tablet applications due out later in the fall, e-edition replicas of the print newspaper and an electronic newsletter with afternoon headline alerts. Subscriber Total Access members will have complete access to those platforms in addition to the dailyherald.com website. They also will have opportunities to participate in a number of Daily Herald events involving newspaper columnists, reporters, editors and other experts, the company said.
Ray said a number of digital-only features will be added to dailyherald.com and most related digital platforms. Among them are new video features, new blogs, changes in online commenting to create a more civil environment, more interactivity with the audience and opportunities for Subscriber Total Access members to get behind-the-scenes views of the newsroom.
Non-subscribers will be able to view 15 pages per month without charge, but certain “premium” content will not be available at all to non-subscribers.
The digital-only fee of $19.99, which comes out to about $240 per year actually exceeds the cost of a regular print subscription with daily delivery, which costs about $190. Print subscribers can add the digital services for $1 per week, which would bring the yearly cost of print plus digital to the same cost as the digital-only package. As a result of this unusual pricing structure, readers who have no interest in the print paper may choose to receive it anyway. This may have the effect of boosting the paper’s circulation numbers, making it more attractive to advertisers. The Daily Herald’s combined daily circulation currently stands at about 150,000.
The Daily Herald’s decision to charge may provide a lifeline for its competitor in the Elgin market, the Courier News, which is now also able to charge for online access. Readers who choose not to subscribe to either will have to turn to other sites including TribLocal, BocaJump and The Elginite for online news and discussion.