Marijuana blog won't start behind Denver Post paywall, CEO says

Last month, we chatted with Denver Post CEO and incoming publisher Mac Tully about a number of topics, including the launch of a new paywall at the paper.

The paywall went into effect on Monday, December 2, and we asked Tully to weigh in on the launch. In the following Q&A, he talks about the quiet response to so-called All Access subscriptions thus far, plus the paper's forthcoming marijuana blog and more.

According to the Post's announcement about the paywall, non-subscribers will be able to view "25 articles on the desktop website or 99 articles on mobile devices" without charge. But if they want to see more, it'll cost them $11.99 per month for a digital-only subscription, or a new customer rate of $5.50 per week for a print-and-digital subscription, with other packages available.

Here's our e-mail exchange with Tully, completed late yesterday afternoon.

Westword: Do you have any hard numbers on how many people have signed up for digital subscriptions since the paywall was put up?

Mac Tully: The meter only went up 3 days ago, so the activity has been minimal.

WW: What kind of response have you been getting from website users?

MT: Very quiet so far. We're not anticipating a heavy response.

WW: Have you received any complaints from people who've already exceeded the free-use limit and hadn't heard about the paywall?

MT: None so far.

WW: Have you had any technical problems -- or has everything gone smoothly thus far?

MT: None that i'm aware of.

WW: How long do you think it will take before you're able to determine if the paywall concept is a success? Months, perhaps? Or even years?

MT: We have a model that we will compare the actual result to and will adjust accordingly.

WW: Will ancillary content -- like, for instance, the recently announced marijuana blog -- be placed behind the paywall? Will it all be available free? Or will those decisions be made on a case-by-case basis?

MT: The marijuana blog would be in front of the wall, but these types of decisions will be monitored and adjusted if necessary.

WW: Is there anything I might not have asked about on this subject that you'd like to add?

MT: I view the All Access program as a strong subscriber retention tool. What we have been asking subscribers to pay for and giving away to non-subscribers is changing. Now, our subscribers will receive all of our content when they want, where they want, on whatever platform they choose and our non-subscribers will get a taste of what we offer and hopefully make the decision to join the family of subscribers.

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More from our Media archive: "Denver Post CEO Mac Tully on new paywall, taking over from Dean Singleton."

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts