The New York Times and its contemporaries may have conditioned their readers to pay subscriptions for access to online content, but one Canadian news source is about to mix things up with the introduction of a pay-per-article model. In addition to offering standard subscriptions, The Winnipeg Free Press will charge readers 27 Canadian cents ($0.21) for each article they read. According to NeimanLab, the newspaper (which is the region's largest by circulation) will launch the pay-per-article system later this month. It hopes to tempt readers with the one-two punch of a 30-day free trial and this bizarre Pink Floyd pastiche:
Although it's a first for a North American news source, the idea has already gathered some steam elsewhere. For example, Dutch startup Blendle allows users to select stories from a number of sources and pay for each article they read. At last count it had well over 200,000 subscribers. Interestingly, Blendle says that "regular news" -- like the article you're reading right now -- doesn't fare so well in a pay-per-click system. Instead, the articles that sell are longform journalism, analysis and commentary. Of course, Free Press offers a mixture of news and more in-depth coverage, but if Blendle's results are anything to go by, the newspaper may have trouble persuading readers to stump up cash for the typical daily news that comprises a large portion of its content.