As our readership has grown over our 125 years, The Billings Gazette has certainly had to change with the times and embrace new technology to deliver the best possible news and advertising package to customers.
One big technological leap came in a leap year 15 years ago. On Feb. 29, 1996, The Gazette entered the Internet age in launching its first website. Little did we know what we were in for.
At the time, our website was cutting edge in this market, but it sure looks primitive when compared to today’s Gazette site. As the web has evolved, our company has invested heavily to take advantage of new technology and provide valuable information to readers in an expanding variety of ways for free.
Developing digital offerings
As we continue to add value to and develop our digital offerings for personal computers, mobile phones, tablets and other devices, the time has come for us to introduce a subscription plan for our digital customers.
The subscription plan recognizes our substantial and ongoing investment and will help ensure that we meet customers’ digital information needs for years to come. Similar programs have been put in place at many U.S. newspaper companies.
Starting Aug. 1, we will introduce a metered system for delivery of our digital content. Many readers won’t notice a difference, as they will be able to view 20 pages of premium content free during any 30-day period. Readers who run out of free page views will be asked to subscribe.
Online readers who have a print subscription will receive a deep discount on their digital subscription. For full access, it will cost $1.95 for a 30-day period. Non-subscribers can purchase full access for $6.95 for a 30-day period. Annual subscriptions are deeply discounted — $19.50 a year for print subscribers and $69.50 a year for non-subscribers.
Many information categories are free and do not count toward the 20-page limit. The free categories include the home page, photo galleries, videos, community calendar, classifieds, all advertisements, Get it! Marketplace, Today’s Deal, search results, index pages and Magic City Magazine. We will continue to provide free access to all this content.
How it works
The metered system works this way: A reader who clicks on a news story registers one page view. If the reader then clicks to read comments that accompany that story, she logs another page view. This reader will register two page views — one for the story, one for the string of comments.
Online readers will receive a “welcome to our site” message and two subscription invitations as they approach the page-view threshold.
Charging to view our online content recognizes the investment we’re making to bring news and advertising to readers in the format they prefer — be it on newsprint, your home computer, your mobile phone or other portable devices.
We’re eager to receive your feedback and answer questions about our online subscription plan. Please call our Circulation Department at 800-762-6397 or 406-657-1298. Or send us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Starting Monday, readers can subscribe to billingsgazette.com by visiting the site at billingsgazette.com/onlinesubscription.
Thank you for helping The Gazette grow with the community over the past 125 years. We take our role as the region’s dominant information provider seriously and will continue our investment in meeting the needs of our customers.