Boston Globe joins the paywall club

By Theresa Mallinson 13 September 2011

The Boston Globe is the latest newspaper to slap up a paywall around its digital content. But will online readers bite? By THERESA MALLINSON.

The Boston Globe has gone the way of sister newspaper, the New York Times (both papers are owned by the New York Times company), which implemented a paywall in late March. It’s too early to call confidently, but The New York Times’ paywall has so far generally been judged a success.

The Boston Globe isn’t going down exactly the same route though. The New York Times’ paywall is porous – readers can access 20 articles free a month before having to cough up and, aside from that, it’s pretty simple to find a work around. The Boston Globe has chosen not to use a metered approach, but much of its content, including all of the sport, will be still be available on 

Previously, the Boston Globe didn’t have its own branded website, with portal serving as its online presence. “The Boston Globe never had its own front door in the digital space,” publisher Chris Mayer reportedly said. “More than half the people going to didn’t know they were reading the Boston Globe.”

“We have two different sites and they’re targeted at two different types of audiences,” said editor Marty Baron. “ is targeted for people really interested in the full depth of journalism we offer. They’re interested in a comfortable reading experience. They’re interested in reading the full stories in many instances.”

But many of these readers, at least the local ones, are probably subscribers to the dead-tree edition already – and they’ll automatically receive full access to the new website. Whether casual readers, fed on a diet of headline news, sports and local entertainment, will feel the need to stump up for more in-depth content remains to be seen. DM


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