Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Inky Readers Hit Paywall

By Ralph Cipriano

At 10:30 a.m. on the Tuesday after the Labor Day weekend, visitors to ran into a big surprise -- a brand new paywall.

If you were one of those readers who had already read 10 stories on that month, you were out of luck. No more freebies. Your only option, besides hopping on another computer, or accessing the site from another web browser, was to sign up for "unlimited digital access for 99 cents for four weeks, and $2.99 per week thereafter."

By the next day, Sept. 6th,, the formerly free website of The Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News, recorded 67,804 "meter stops," meaning 67,804 readers had just ran into that paywall. "Of those who 'hit the meter,' we had 1,736 new digital subscribers sign up," wrote Fred Groser, chief revenue officer, in a Sept. 6th email to all employees of Philadelphia Media Network.

"As you all know, we launched our new digital subscription model yesterday, Groser wrote. "This initiative, by far one of our most important undertakings in years, has been in the works for many months."

PMN's strategy was to offer print subscribers "a very attractive offer for a digital subscription, giving them full access to our digital content on multiple devices for each household. We sent letters to about 180,000 subscribers announcing this with an option for them to decline the offer."

"Of the 180,000 mailed, we have received 22,379 opt-outs. We planned on having 36,000 opt-outs," Groser wrote. "This leaves us 157,403 paid print + digital subscribers, of which 1,256 have activated their subscriptions. This is promising news and good results, though very early."

So if you take the 1,736 new digital subscribers who just signed up after hitting the pay wall plus the 1,256 print subscribers who just signed up for digital access, that amounts to "2,992 digital activated subscribers, which is a good conversion rate of readers who have engaged the meter," Groser wrote.

Groser advised all PMN employees when talking to readers to "please remind them that they will receive fewer ads and an improved experience with our site should they subscribe. Subscribers will not be served high-impact ads such as wallpapers and interstitials," Groser wrote, referring to web-page ads displaying age-restricted materials.

So the grand paywall experiment progresses, as seeks to find out whether local readers are willing to pay for news.

But Groser won't be around to see how it all turns out. He resigned two weeks ago.

Meanwhile, web page traffic at was rumored to be down about 30 percent by the end of the first week that the paywall was up.

So, as a free service to all those former visitors to who are now restricted from the site, here's what you missed.

Today, the Inquirer's PC posse led the webpage with three different stories about the city's ongoing statue wars.

First, Tirdad Derakshani, an Inquirer staff writer, breathlessly reported the big news that the city's PC Mural Arts program had just installed right behind that racist Frank Rizzo statue a new statue of a 12-foot high steel Afro-pick, topped by a fist raised in a black power salute.

Take that, Big Bambino.

Next, Solomon Jones, an Inquirer columnist, visited the two statues and found the Afro-pick statue to  be empowering. But not empowering enough the columnist said, to combat the continuing racism emanating from the Rizzo statue. So, for the umpteenth time, the courageous Inquirer columnist called for  the removal of the racist Rizzo statue.

Climaxing the newspaper's blanket coverage of the statue wars, former Inquirer fashion columnist Elizabeth Wellington weighed in to say that she also visited both statues and found the Afro Pick statue to be not empowering.

This was a major development, and in shocking contrast to Jones's stance.

Finally, Wellington reported that the racist Frank Rizzo statue deliberately snubbed the columnist by turning its back on her:

Maybe the [Afro-pick] sculpture can be a conversation starter. But not as it relates to Rizzo. If you approach Rizzo from the south side of John F. Kennedy Boulevard, you can barely see the Afro pick. And when I stood next to the Afro pick Tuesday afternoon and glanced diagonally to my right, Rizzo's entire powerful back was to me.

Just as the former mayor probably would have wanted it.

Oh the humanity!

So the racism continues unabated outside the Municipal Services Building.

It will cost you only 99 cents for four weeks [and $2.99 a week thereafter] to tune into the further adventures of the Inky's PC posse, as they continue to confront our city's most dangerous racist statues.


  1. I wouldn't mind paying but they only report half the news, it's not worth it. Their reporters only make guest appearances in courtrooms during a trial, they are too busy and can't sit through the entire proceedings but they somehow have all the prosecutions facts ready for publication.

    I would suggest designating one reporter per trial, there surely are enough to go around, the reporters will have to attend each and every day to be able to give accurate details of the trial,this way a clear description of what actually transpired in the courtroom will be available for the reading public.

    Presenting the prosecution's side is damaging not only to the defendant but to the region, misrepresenting to the public the "facts" of the prosecution as truthful evidence conveying false facts to influence juries and condemn the defendant is sinful.

    You do not have to take it from me, it's one of the 10 Commandments, Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness Against Thy Neighbor.

    It's dangerous, damaging,and should be illegal besides just unethical to slant the facts of a case in favor of the prosecution. What amazes me about the Inky crime reporters is their lack of curiosity, hold off on condemning a defendant before both set of facts are presented.

    I shudder to think of all the defendants that gave up and plead guilty rather than take a chance with a jury that believed they were guilty.

    The Inky crime reporters should take a page out of Ralph Cipriano's book on how it get it right. Big Trial, now this is a website I would subscribe to and support.

  2. W. Wilson Goode, with dreadlocks, would be a great addition next to El Bambino, in remembrance of incompetence, criminal misfeasance, and the burning question,'do black lives matter.'

  3. It would seem to me that the almost guaranteed tremendous lower viewership over this pay wall will cause would negatively impact the advertisers who up to now have utilized and supported Won't this far outweigh whatever nominal increase the Inquirer, Daily News, and realize in generated new subscriptions this pay wall will cause? Am I missing something?

  4. The Inky put a paywall to thin IRS flock of right wing commented. What they will do is to lose market share. I am looking forward to their eventual bankruptcy.

  5. Inky never has,never will be worth paying anything for.
    Guess the black power sign isn't racist only the Rizzo statue.

  6. I have an idea for the Inky to gain some needed income, they should start billing prosecutors for the work they do to convict people, they do half their jobs, the Inky works with the prosecution to build a case then to condemn the defendant and taint the jury pool. I see an income stream with tons of billable hours here, or they could also charge per conviction, that would work as well.

  7. It's fitting that the legacy of the Inquirer is tied to Lenfest Inc.

    If that paper ever faced a criminal indictment for operating a
    corrupt enterprise even a Sandusky jury would return a just verdict.

    When Lenfest's son was busy financing dope deals, I wonder why
    Anastasia never pursued that story.

    When Lenfest fronted for Annenberg and carved his billions into
    the power grab he controls today, he springs to attention in the
    company of an oligarch crime boss like Bezos as he did for the
    kingmaker and bipolar philanthropist.

    The Media Giants of today are the greatest threat to honest
    government this Country has ever experienced.But they escape scrutiny
    and just prosecution for their crimes and their corrupt agenda.

    As the war progresses between Trump and the Media,the huddled masses
    await to take swings at the Giants and see how they like it when they
    sit in front of a jury.

    In my opinion, Trump beat Clinton because the mainstream media is
    despised and the electorate will support their opposition. Not only
    do we deserve better government but news reporting that is honest and
    That is why MM support UBER Philosophy, Sanctuary Government of
    changing law and giving voting rights to illegal aliens deflecting
    attention from the greater crimes that they perpetrate and not facing
    criminal charges for the actions they commit and support.

    Hopefully Trump will set them on fire before he is removed from
    office as orchestrated by the Left and the Sanctuary Movement.

  8. The printing plant in Conshohocken and the delivery trucks delivering newspapers already obsolete. That is where they are losing money as nobody wants to buy old news. Online is a good business practice as nobody wants old news. Free online with ads will keep marketplace secure. Inky wanted to paywall online in order to deny commentors the right to say what must be said that is unacceptable to socialist Democrats.

  9. I'll start a digital subscription when the Inquirer censors stop blocking comments for no logical reason.

  10. Breaking news, the Philly Com website has shut down completely. You cannot get news from them at all. How will they get subscribers?


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