San Luis Obispo Tribune putting up a paywall

December 3, 2012

The San Luis Obispo Tribune announced it plans to start charging readers on Dec. 5 for online access.

Online viewers who do not already subscribe to the paper will be prompted, after viewing 15 pages in a 30-day period, to purchase a subscription or lose access, a program the Tribune’s parent company McClatchy already test ran at the Modesto Bee.

In a press release about its second quarter earnings, McClatchy says it plans “to roll out a metered plan in the third quarter in five of our markets.” After that wave is launched, in the fourth quarter, it will start charging for online access at the company’s 24 remaining papers.

“We will offer readers a combined print and digital subscription package that will include access to web, certain mobile and replica editions for a relatively small increase to print home-delivery rates. We’ll also offer online-only digital subscriptions to users after they read a certain number of pages,” the press release says.

Newspaper publishers from throughout the country, suffering from dwindling print advertising and subscription revenue, are hoping to offset the declines through online paywalls. Papers such as The New York Times, the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times have already introduced paywalls.

McClatchy revenues for the second quarter of 2012 were down 4.8 percent from the second quarter of 2011. Advertising revenues were down 5.7 percent from 2011, and circulation revenues were down 2.4 percent.

During the same period of time, digital advertising revenues grew 4.9 percent with digital-only advertising revenues up 16.8 percent.



Publisher Bruce Ray is trying to straddle both the electronic and print news markets and if he’s not careful the Tribune is going to fail at both.

Print newspapers will largely be a thing of the past in the not too distant future. I think the Tribune is trying to get electronic news customers to subsidize their print news business and that’s just not going to fly. I think the Tribune needs to slash costs (by unplugging their printing presses and selling their Taj Mahol headquarters) and really get into the electronic market with both feet.

Some people might pay for a premium local e-news service, but most won’t pay $69.99/year. The Tribune will survive on increased ad revenue, reduced overhead and not increased sales revenue from readers…


I would pay that much for the LATimes eversion, if I didn’t already buy a copy every day.

My husband and I spend about $417 a year for the LATimes print version, AND we have to go out every morning and buy it from a newsrack or store, but it is worth every cent.

However, the Tribune has demonstrated its priority is bending over for the big-business and government crony system. I won’t pay one dime to support that type of media publication.


The LA Times was once a great newspaper. Not so much anymore. Like the Trib its views are colored by business and political pressures. While it’s always been superior to a small town fish wrapper like the Tribune, that’s not really saying a great deal. In any event it’s an apples to oranges comparison.

I do agree — the Tribune’s coverage of local news is weak. Even worse is its proclivity to skew the news as they believe it fits their business model. That seems to be a long term newspaper killer every time.

I think CCN would do well to add local sports, more news and vital statistics to their website about now. They could just buy a subscription to the Tribune and redistribute the information after reformatting/rewriting it.


I hope CCN adds a death notice/obituary section. That’s really the only reason I subscribe to the Trib. Their news coverage is abysmal and their sports coverage is nothing special.

I think Bruce Ray made a tragic mistake. Let’s see how circulation/advertising goes once the change takes hold.


You mean to read about the demise of the trib?


The newspaper is going the way of the home phone, Telecoms operators are seeing customers abandon landlines at a rate of 700,000 per month –

News Paper revenues , Newspaper Industry Ad Revenue at 1965 Levels

Google Has Officially Eaten the Newspaper Industry –

Kevin Rice

99 cents to read Cuddy and Co.? Trib just entered hospice care. Think I’ll leave a bouquet at San Luis Cemetery today for 1896 Trib editor Benjamin Brooks.


The Trib is a rag not fit to wrap fish…stories like “what’s your emergency” is about the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen in a newspaper. They have to fill columns because they can’t afford real-life beat reporters…I know because I was one for my hometown paper. My editor and news crew would have a field day in SLO….Karen Velie would be out of a job!!


A good reason not to advertise with the trib


I have been saying for years you can get last weeks news this week…… tick tock tick tock goes the clock for the survival of the trib, maybe then we won’t have to read cuddys crap column any more.


It has no chance. It’s about supply and demand. Nobody is going to pay the Tribune when they can just click on another site and get essentially the same thing for free.

The tribune just announced it’s own demise.


Sandra Duer has driven a nail into heart of what was once a fairly good local newspaper


More like Bruce Ray.


Truly the last gasp of a dying newspaper.