Newsday Decides To Charge For Online News…

from the good-luck-with-that dept

I grew up reading Newsday, a newspaper covering some of New York City and its suburbs. In fact, when I was 11 years old, that was my first job: delivering Newsday to neighborhood homes. When various newspapers first started to go online, I tried to visit Newsday pretty often, but it put up an annoying registration wall early on, and I found plenty of other, better sources of news. The quality of reporting in Newsday already paled in comparison to many other newspapers, so it just wasn’t worth the hassle — even once it removed the registration wall. I almost never visit the website any more — though, occasionally I check the sports pages there. Last year, Cablevision bought Newsday, and today, along with announcing it was writing down a huge chunk of that purchase, said that it’s going to start charging for access to Newsday online, making it that much less likely that anyone will care enough to visit Newsday’s website. The major area news is much better covered by the other newspapers, and various “hyperlocal” websites are popping up all over the place to cover the local specifics. Deciding to charge for Newsday online is basically a death sentence for the paper.

By the way, if you want more evidence of how badly Newsday is at handling the relevant news: at the time I’m writing this, you can’t find news of this pretty big change on Newsday’s site at all. Instead, I’m relying on a Reuters report. That tells you pretty much all you need to know about Newsday’s ability to keep its website relevant. Why pay for worse news when others give you a better product for free?

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Companies: cablevision, newsday

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Thai logic

A few travelers told me about this, but I didn’t believe it until I saw it first hand a few weeks ago. Thailand is suffering from a severe reduction in tourists (one source sited a 50% hotel occupancy rate). With fewer tourists, you’d think that the hotels would reduce their rates to attract what few tourists ARE in the country. The exact opposite is true; they’ve RAISED their rates. The newspapers use the same twisted logic. Since they’re not making much money doing whatever it is they’re doing, the only way to improve the situation is to charge people MORE for what they’re doing rather than come up with something people are willing to pay for.

Greg Spirasays:

This might actually work, because the primary purpose of the move is not to get people to subscribe to the web site. Most of the people Newsday wants to attract to the website will still have free access to it because they are Cablevision Internet subscribers or they get Newsday delivered. What this is about to giving Cablevision something it can use to differentiate its service from Verison FIOS. It’s no different than starting up a local news television station – Cablevision’s News 12 Long Island, in this case – and using that as a differentiator, since competitors like satellite and FIOS don’t have access to that station. And that strategy is generally regarded as a successful one.

This strategy is far closer to ESPN360’s than other newspapers that have charged for content, and unlike ESPN360, they don’t have to convince cable companies to pay for and carry the web site, because they are the primary cable company.

Greg Spirasays:

Coward – Because the relevant information isn’t available for free elsewhere on the net, and because most of the people who get it won’t be paying for it – directly – anyway.

The 3 NYC dailies simply don’t cover Long Island news. The only other entity which covers Long Island news is News 12 Long Island, which is also owned by Cablevision. There are smaller local community newspapers, but they aren’t competitors. And since the majority of Long Islanders will still get the Newsday site for free even when the site converts to a pay site, there won’t be a vacuum created that’s big enough for another news organization to try and move in and fill.

The irony of this plan is that it could succeed precisely because people don’t want to pay for web content – when choosing between Cablevision and Verizon FIOS, the idea of getting Newsday for free with Cablevision is far more attractive to people than getting FIOS and having to pay separately for Newsday’s web site.

I wouldn’t be subscribed if Newsday doesn’t move its sports section behind a wall, because that’s the one significant part of the paper that does cover the same ground as other papers.


Newsday sucks now … wah, wah, wah. I can tell by your story you know crap about good writing, reporting or editing.

Heh. I’ll just note that the above message came from a Cablevision IP address.

I always find these sorts of comments funny. They don’t address any of the actual issues, they just throw out a random insult.

If you really think your plan to charge for Newsday makes sense, why not actually defend it?


It seems economics and fundamentals of all media are changing, and Newsday is changing in the wrong direction. Even how news is originated is changing. Many of the news outlets are moving away from creating their own content. It is interesting to see more and more free news sites linking to other news articles, and focusing on a narrower set of their own writing.

On top of that, there are many sites solely devoted to linking articles, such as, and topic aggregating websites, such as, etc. Certainly, the appeal of this type of news platform the huge free content base achieved by sourcing so broadly, and it achieves such success without an extensive staff.

Newsday needs to get with the times.

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