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Washington Post contemplates 'paywall'

Dec. 7, 2012 at 1:23 PM

WASHINGTON, Dec. 7 (UPI) -- The Washington Post is preparing to put in a paywall for its online readers, limiting non-subscribers' access to online content, a rival newspaper reported.

The Wall Street Journal said the Post is considering a "metered paywall," that allows for a set number of online visits for non-subscribers before access is blocked.

Subscribers of either the online edition or the hard copy would have access to the website.

The Post said Friday its Chief Executive Officer Donald Graham -- who shares business concerns with the owner of Berkshire Hathaway, billionaire investor Warren Buffett -- had recently applauded Buffett's approach to the newspaper business.

"Anyone who focuses on the newspaper business should be focusing on one company: Berkshire Hathaway," Graham said.

"Warren (Buffett) has bought more than 80 papers," Graham pointed out, adding, "Warren's strategy is: Put in a strict paywall and focus on local, local, local stuff."

The Journal said the Post would also raise its newsstand price, which has escalated from 35 cents in 2007 to $1 for the Monday-through Saturday editions.

The decision to restrict online access is a balancing act between what advertisers are looking for and the need for subscription revenue. The Post is concerned it could lose its audience beyond the capital district and advertising fees are generally set based on circulation and number of online visits.

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