America’s largest circulation newspaper, USA Today, is to introduce a paid-for digital version in August in an attempt to boost flagging revenue, compensate for a decline in advertising income and stem falling readership.
The new publisher of the Gannett-owned title, David Hunke, said the digital edition would be emailed daily to subscribers for $10 per month, dropping the price from the existing $13.95 per month and introducing new features.
The move is part of a drive to increase revenues and readership, with Hunke also pledging to take on the Wall Street Journal plan of targeting business readers in hotel rooms.
Final plans have clearly not yet been finalized, because Hunke couldn’t say whether the digital edition would be free to existing print subscribers or extra. But he did say that he regrets not charging for the paper’s iPhone app. While the site is likely to remain free, services that add value, like a digital edition or iPhone and Android mobile products could be charged for.
“I’m not sure we realized what we had,” said Burke. “I think that’s a value readers will be willing to pay for.”
USA Today‘s ad revenues fell 36% in the first quarter of this year, while circulation was down 7% to 2.11m for October to March.
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