Israeli daily becoming first to put online content behind paywall readers will have to choose if they want to pay for articles

Israel's main newspapers. (photo credit: Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
Israel's main newspapers. (photo credit: Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

Israel’s oldest daily newspaper is set to become the country’s first news organization to charge readers for access to online content, following a model that is becoming increasingly common as media companies struggle to make ends meet.

With the launch of its new website next week, Haaretz will initiate a digital subscription program which will charge readers for access to online content, the paper announced Tuesday.

The newspaper is following in the footsteps of other publications such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and the Sunday Times, which have introduced paywalls in the hopes of staying solvent in the face of Internet threats.

The phenomenon has yet to reach Israeli shores in any large way, though some sites have begun charging for selected content.

“Our users will have to think how much their relationship with Haaretz is worth,” said Lior Kodner, the head of digital Haaretz. “I think every news organization that is introducing digital subscriptions should be worried. But we know we have great products, and we’ve seen what is happening around the globe.  In worst cases the traffic only decreases by 10%, and in some cases it even increases.”

The leftist newspaper, which puts out print and Internet editions in English and Hebrew, gets about 3 million visitors a month to its website.

The paper will follow the New York Times model of giving print subscribers free access, while others can pay for a digital subscription or read a limited number of articles for free a month.


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