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The move will strengthen the PDN's ability to continue to invest in the journalism and digital innovations on which North Olympic Peninsula residents have come to depend.
Cost is about 26 cents a day for an annual digital-only subscription, or 30 cents a day for a month-to-month subscription after 99 cents for the first month.
“And for those of you who subscribe to the printed PDN, even if weekend-only, here's some good news," said John Brewer, PDN publisher and editor.
“Your digital subscription will be included in your subscription package, and you'll have free, unlimited access to our content.
“For those of you who don't subscribe to the printed paper but who value the depth and breadth of content we supply you — the amount of local news we cover is not matched by anyone else — here's some good news for you also: You now will have the chance to directly help support quality journalism on our Peninsula.”
Under the new system, nonsubscribers to the printed PDN will have to pay after viewing a set number of free articles per month.
The system will begin with 20 free articles in April, and website-only users will be offered a 30-day digital-only trial subscription for 99 cents.
After the trial, plans will start at $7.95 a month for an annual digital-only subscription, or $8.95 month-to-month, which includes unlimited access to content at www.peninsuladailynews.com, the North Olympic Peninsula's No. 1 most-visited website.
Many items at the PDN website — from online polls to the headlines at the homepage to obituaries — will be outside the new pay-for-content system and remain free for all users at all times.
The PDN reaches more than 40,000 print readers every day and delivers more than 1.6 million website impressions each month for news and online advertising.
Subscribers to the print Peninsula Daily News — whether they get it Sunday through Friday or only Friday and Sunday — will enjoy unlimited free access to the website, including its news story archives.
They will get a login and password that can be used anywhere — work or home computer, smartphone and tablet.
Urgent news stories of community importance, classified and display ads, obituaries, www.peninsuladailynews.com's homepage, videos, our heavily used online Peninsula Calendar and Peninsula Poll, Hot Links, special news sections and PDN customer service pages will be placed outside the paywall, meaning they won't count toward a user's free monthly access limit.
Since its launch in 1998, all content at www.peninsuladailynews.com has been free.
Also unaffected for now will be the PDN's e-Edition, a page-by-page electronic replica edition that operates under a separate subscription program.
“Beginning Monday, we're joining more than 500 newspapers nationwide — including most newspapers in this state, from The Seattle Times to the weekly Port Townsend & Jefferson County Leader — that charge for their digital content,” said Brewer.
“News organizations like ours have recognized that they cannot survive if they provide content for free that is increasingly costly to produce.
“Reporting, editing and news photography are expensive. It is also expensive to produce and maintain the online versions of our product. With our existing advertising and print-circulation revenue, the math no longer adds up.
“Of course, we realize that nobody likes having to pay for something they've been receiving for free.
“But we believe that if you stop for just a moment to contemplate how important the PDN is to the vitality and civility of the Peninsula, you might even feel good about your contribution to sustaining the content you value."
Listening to feedback
Brewer added that "as we learn more about how everything is working, and listen to feedback from our readers, I'm sure we'll fine-tune our metered system. We want to make sure we have the right balance between ensuring access to community-important news and building a sustainable business."
The weekly Sequim Gazette, part of a newspaper group that includes the PDN, also will go to a metered pay system next week for its website, www.sequimgazette.com.
The change will be effective Wednesday. Print subscribers to the Gazette will get free access to its website.
The weekly Forks Forum, sister paper to the PDN and Sequim Gazette, will not be participating in the metered pay system at this time for its website, www.forksforum.com.
As the pay-for-content system is rolled out this week, PDN print subscribers will get instructions in the paper and on our website on how to get free access.
To begin a print subscription, phone 360-452-4507 or 800-826-7714, or visit https://secure.peninsuladailynews.com/subscriptions.
“As we ask you to support quality journalism on the North Olympic Peninsula, we promise to be more focused than ever on serving you,” said Brewer.
“If you have suggestions in that regard, please email me — email@example.com — or phone me at 360-417-3500.”