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Will the pay wall kill the Toronto Star?


Staff member
According to stryker (and he has access to data), the pay wall really took a huge chunk out of the Globe and Mail site traffic. I wonder if the same thing will happen to the Toronto Star?

I also wonder how advertisers feel about these sites throwing up road blocks between the public and their ads... Are the agencies going to pay them less for each ad served? Or will they pay them more because now, like facebook, they will know exactly who is seeing their ads.

Just wondering...
Alex D. from TRIBE on Utility Room


TRIBE Member
Not liking the pay wall papers. Clearing cookies keeps me up on the news. I check into the globe and mail , national post , and the star daily as I do not watch much tv. But I can certainly sense with feedback from others and coworkers that this will not help the newspaper industry. I don't know of many who still subscribe to a morning paper or any folks that even bring a paper to the office anymore. Even magazines are hard to come by at the doctor and dentist anymore lol.


TRIBE Member
if you know where the star drops off its thousands of free copies each day, you can have your paper for free every single day of the year. I swear the Star does this to keep their circulation numbers artificially high. Like the community centre where my kids go to camp at the moment. I drop them off and pick up my free paper. easy.
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TRIBE Member
The newspapers should eliminate ALL websites they have, and kill their web strategy, if they want to surive. They should do it en masse. Otherwise I don't see them surviving for another 10 years, or at least not in the form they are in now. I'm a big avid reader of the physical paper, especially Saturday Globe and Sunday NYT. I love the form factor of a paper, the crunch, the newsprint on my fingers. I wouldn't line my hamster cage with the Post or Star, but I can certainly appreciate its presence in the competitive marketplace. I'm being tongue-in-cheek by suggesting they kill their online presence entirely but perhaps have features on there but not "news". Nowadays I don't go on thestar.com or globe for news, I go on twitter anyways, and I'm sure many more do as well.

If I had an answer I'd obviously be a lot richer. I don't think the paywall will "kill" the Star.


TRIBE Member
Paper recycling boxes are full of newspapers.

Similarly with television people are switching to basic... I bought my antenna for $15
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TRIBE Member
My news model has changed - bloggers give you the insight based on news stories, so I find this kind of stuff rarely affects me.

The links I may not be able to follow but I trust my curators/aggregators to quote the juicy bits..;)
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TRIBE Member
I read thestar.com daily and hadn't really thought much as to why until they announced the paywall. Over the last couple of days I've realized why I read it and why I'll subscribe to it.

The journalism of free blogs/metro news/24hr type publications is shit. I find that The Star is decent enough at its journalism to keep me interested and coming back for more. If I had to guess it would be because they have enough resources to do some investigative journalism, and put together articles with substance. Plus, I have noticed that they're not big on sensationalism as other publications, especially the free ones. Not to say that The Star is 100% unbiased, but at least when I read their articles I feel satisfied that journalists have put enough effort in to research and communicated it in an objective article.

So the point for me is, if I'm going to spend 30 min a day reading the news then I'll pay the 9.99/mth to know that I'm not getting frustrated reading some rambling sensationalist opinion piece.


TRIBE Member
I've found that deleting cookies isn't enough to get around some paywalls now. National Post is particularly difficult sometimes.

Chrome has some good features but I can't use it on my work laptop because for some ridiculous reason we use Lotus Notes and Chrome causes it to crash. I can use Firefox though.

www.lifehacker.com has explanations of how to do a google webcache search of any article and that gets you around paywalls. They have instructions how to automate the process with custom search engine code.


TRIBE Member
Time will, of course, tell whether or not this will kill the Toronto Star--and other newspapers. It will boil down to whether or not prospective consumers find that the value of the product is worth the price.

But as long as we have relatively high democratization of news via the Internet, I see the paywalls marginalizing a large share of readership.

Baby boomers are likely to be a large share, but this will only be stealing readership from print to digital. If I was heading up Torstar or elsewhere, I would make sure I get as many colleges and universities onto free, full service. Once students graduate, hope to hell they appreciated the service and they see enough value to subscribe.


Staff member
Ever since the mainstream media went from reporting news and doing more major investigative pieces, to 'curating' tweets and building news stories out of them, they painted themselves into a corner that is getting smaller and smaller.
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TRIBE Member
It's funny, the direction of this thread is starting to remind me of the discussion on ethics in downloading pirated mp3s/movies in the early 2000s. Isn't the news media destined for the same mainstream adoption with low fee news sources as what Netflix did for movies and iTunes for music?

I would hate having to go to YouTube to watch movies for free but having to endure ads when I can pay Netflix and enjoy the shows free of interruptions.


TRIBE Member
Toronto Star to scrap paywall, launch free tablet edition - The Globe and Mail

Toronto Star to scrap paywall, launch free tablet edition Add to ...
The Globe and Mail
Published Wednesday, Nov. 05 2014, 7:08 AM EST
Last updated Wednesday, Nov. 05 2014, 1:36 PM EST

Torstar Corp. plans to stop charging readers for digital news next year, and will partner with La Presse to create a free tablet edition for the Toronto Star as print advertising revenue continues to suffer.

The company reported a third-quarter profit of $125.3-million on Wednesday thanks to the sale of its Harlequin publishing business, but its core media properties continue to struggle financially.

Joining forces with La Presse, while abandoning a metred paywall for digital news sites that was only launched in August of 2013, represents a major shift in Torstar’s digital strategy. By returning to a free, ad-driven model for online news, the company is betting on tablets as a way to find younger readers and boost digital ad revenue.

John Cruickshank, the Star Media Group’s publisher, told analysts on a conference call that he is impressed with La Presse’s “success in establishing deep engagement with a younger audience” through La Presse+, a tablet edition the French-language newspaper publisher built and launched in 2013 with a $40-million investment.

As a result of the $455-million sale of Harlequin to global media giant News Corp., the newspaper publisher reported profit of $1.57 per basic share for the quarter ended Sept. 30.

“We were pleased to complete the sale of Harlequin in the third quarter and all outstanding debt was retired using a portion of the sale proceeds,” David Holland, Torstar’s president and CEO, said in a statement.

Excluding the Harlequin sale, Torstar reported a net loss from continuing operations of $87-million, or $1.08 per share, compared with a loss of $80.2-million, or $1.01 per share in the third quarter of 2013.

Total segmented revenue at Torstar fell 7.1 per cent to 211.2-million in the third quarter, down from $227.4-million a year earlier.

Revenues at the Star Media Group fell 10.8 per cent in the quarter, with print ad revenue at the Toronto Star, the group’s flagship publication, down 20.8 per cent year over year. But digital revenue grew by 5.1 per cent.

The Toronto Star’s new tablet edition is expected to launch in the fall of 2015, built on La Presse’s existing technology. Torstar plans to invest $1-million to $2-million in the fourth quarter this year, and $10-million to $12-million in 2015 to create the new product.

When it launches, the Star will remove its paywall, which is expected to dent circulation revenue. Mr. Cruickshank told analysts the decision wasn’t because of a revenue problem, but rather a realization about the lack of crossover between the newspaper’s print and digital audiences.

Instead, the Star is aiming to move “toward a real multi-platform strategy” that treats different ways of reading almost as separate businesses, Mr. Cruickshank said. Torstar foresees joint marketing opportunities with its French-language partner, and will be looking to bring in more revenue from digital ads. La Presse+ readers currently spend an average of about 45 minutes with the tablet edition daily, and approximately an hour on Saturdays, according to Mr. Cruickshank, which should be attractive to advertisers.

When asked whether he sees signs of print ad revenues improving any time soon, Mr. Cruickshank replied, “Not at present.”


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I'm so lazy with clearing my cookies (I have the most restrictive firefox privacy settings though, so it resets anytime I close my browser), that if I go to more than 10 articles I just hit the stop button right before it loads the paywall portion.
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