I know, I've ranted about it before. I've talked about how I got the paper delivered, but didn't read it. Eventually, I cancelled it and moved to reading it online.
The online version isn't as good as the paper version - mostly because there's not as much content. They might have everything online, but they don't link to it all, as far as I can tell.
The Citizen is going through financial issues. They've stopped the Sunday paper (which has always been a very small paper) and combined it with Saturday into a weekend edition. A lot of their columnists mysteriously decided to retire around the same time.
And they've decided to start charging if you want to read more than 10 articles a month online.
The thing is, a lot of newspapers started charging for online reading about ten years ago. Most (if not all) of those papers are now back to being free. It fundamentally isn't a business model that works.
There are lots of reasons for that:
- There are thousands of free news sources (including OCHeadlines, which is the Ottawa Citizen's twitter feed - you can't necessarily read the article if you're past your 10, but you get enough info to google it). There's also the TV news. The Sun network (canoe.ca) is still free. CBC's website has news. And, of course, that's just for Ottawa-specific news. If you want world news, there are tons of options.
- They're charging for information they purchased from someone else. For example, the business section largely comes from the Financial Post - which is free. That means you have other options for reading that news.
- There are easy ways around their limit, like changing browsers or computers (or, I assume, clearing your cookies). Frankly, I can't be bothered to use these methods - I'll just go elsewhere - but it can be done.
(When was the last time you read the classifieds?)
Obviously, the business model has changed. Classifieds have been largely replaced with online equivalents, and ads on the site clearly aren't doing the job.
The thing is, paid access is unlikely to solve the problem.
In fact, it will likely reduce the ad revenue, because people like me will just stop going to the page to start with.
Perhaps when they go back to being free, I'll check out the site again.