Cablevision's (CVC) plan to charge for Newsday online ushers in a new era for newspapers in decline.
Thursday, Cablevision executives told analysts on an earnings conference call that
's online news would essentially be part of a service bundle to lure and keep TV subscribers.
"We plan to end distribution of free Web content and make our news gathering capabilities a service our customers," Cablevision operations chief Tom Rutledge said on the call.
With more major newspapers closing this week, including
Rocky Mountain News
, and others like
New York Times
selling assets to raise cash, Cablevision's attempt to convert
's local Long Island, N.Y., news dominance into a new sales opportunity has a risky appeal.
Cablevision did not elaborate on the plan, but
has already been conducting trials of requiring registration to view local news videos. Cablevision subscribers are granted login privileges.
Clearly Cablevision sees offering cable and Internet subscribers exclusive access to
content as a way to fend off intense triple-play TV, Internet and phone service packages from rival
And while paid content sites like
Wall Street Journal
have coverage people seem willing to pay for, at least one critic isn't all that optimistic about
ContentBridges blogger Ken Doctor, a digital-newspaper content expert,
about Cablevision's attempts to turn
stories into cash.
"Confronted with having to pay for a site you may use less than five minutes a month, you think you are going to pay for it," wrote Doctor. "Wrong site. Wrong year. Wrong metro area."