Print edition subscribers received a postcard on Tuesday unveiling CourantPlus.Com, with an offer of free access through March 17 and the offer of a $10 Starbucks gift card to the first 500 people who then fill out a survey evaluating the site when the trial is up.
The Courant’s promo for the new site promises:
- “Exclusive, in-depth news stories, columns and features not found elsewhere online;
- “Interactive graphics, videos and photo galleries for an in-depth experience very day;
- “Clutter-free page design with limited advertising
- “More political and business coverage
- “Insider UConn Husky sports coverage
- and “Premium content from trusted partners such as Forbes, Bloomberg, Washington Post and many others.”
Presuming after several years of buyouts and layoffs that the newspaper won’t be bulking up its reporting staff to add new content for the premium site, it appears that some coverage will be moved off the free-access Courant.Com and placed behind the paywall.
The move leaves newspapers operated by Hearst (Connecticut Post, Stamford Advocate, Greenwich Time, Danbury News Times) and Journal Register Co. (New Haven Register, Middletown Press and The Register Citizen of Torrington) and the Norwalk Hour as the only dailies in Connecticut not to have moved to some kind of paywall model.
The Journal-Inquirer of Manchester, Republican-American of Waterbury and Willimantic Chronicle have had paywalls for a number of years, while the New London Day, Meriden Record-Journal and Norwich Bulletin all moved to a paywall model within the past two years.
UPDATE: Hartford Courant Publisher Rich Graziano tells Poynter that “the Hartford Courant has not implemented a paywall.” He explained that CourantPlus.Com is in a “market research” stage and said: “We have made no determination about launching CourantPlus, its accessibility or pricing requirements.”