5/31/09 – 10:38 a.m.: Updated.
The Philadelphia Inquirer will launch a paid-content model on its Web site before the end of the year, according to a commemorative online package that will appear Sunday.
Philadelphia’s paper of record will debut the special multimedia presentation on Philly.com to commemorate its 180th anniversary, which Technically Philly was given a preview of today.
See our sneak peek at the project here.
The presentation includes a news story attributing the mention of paid content to Brian Tierney, Philadelphia Media Holdings Publisher and Chief Executive. Further details about the plans were not provided.
Inquirer Executive Online Editor Chris Krewson could not confirm the time line or the decision, but said that Tierney has spoken publicly about the possibility.
“In the past three months it’s been pretty clear from Brian’s statements that there will be a move to paid content on the Internet,” Krewson said in a telephone interview with Technically Philly.
“It would not surprise me at all to see us do something with paid content by the end of the year.”
Still, Krewson said that there are no plans for paid content in the immediate development pipeline. “There won’t be a pay wall anytime soon. For various technical reasons, we actually couldn’t do that if we wanted to.”
Top executives of the newspaper industry, including Philadelphia Media Holdings, met discreetly in Chicago Thursday to discuss online content monetization strategies, The Atlantic reported.
Though Tierney has been mum about PHM’s plans for online monetization, he has spoken to the importance of a paid online model.
While speaking at the Wharton Leadership Lunch at the University of Pennsylvania in February, Tierney contended that if the Web is to be the primary mode of content delivery, a paid subscription form would have to develop, according to Akkam’s Razor, a Philadelphia blog.
“Everyone wants content to be free,” he explained, “but you can’t do what we do and have content be free.”
The 1800-word commemorative article, written by Inquirer staff writer Jeff Gammage, reports on how the newspaper will continue to exist in years to come. Tierney is quoted in support of a paid content model.
“This idea of free access to your content is fundamentally as silly as we all thought it was 10 years ago,” Tierney said. “I think people will be willing to pay for quality journalism.”
Staff writers Sean Blanda and Christopher Wink contributed to this story.
Full Disclosure: All three founders of Technically Philly have done work for the Philadelphia Inquirer.