Dispatch Resumes Charging Web Site Users

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Dispatch.com gives this message to readers when they try to access their eleventh article within one month.(Photo: Columbus Dispatch)
Dispatch.com gives this message to readers when they try to access their eleventh article within one month.(Photo: Columbus Dispatch)

People who read the Columbus Dispatch online might have recently received a notice saying “thank you for being a frequent visitor to dispatch.com. You’ve reached your quota.”

That’s because as of last week, The Dispatch began charging readers, even those who subscribe to the paper edition, who want to read more than 10 articles a month on its Web site.

Under the new business model, new subscribers can choose between either digital access or home delivery for $19.99 a month. New customers can receive both for a dollar more, or $20.99 a month.

WOSU’s Steve Brown sat down with the vice president of Dispatch Digital, Phil Pikelny, to ask him why the paper is moving back to a pay-wall business model, and why executives think this latest pay-wall will be more successful than their first. Click the play button above to hear their conversation.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1318503218 Kelly Ryan Moser

    I would like to personally thank the Dispatch for restricting their site. I have returned to reading National stories on national issues-that sometimes even affect slowumbus ( or will) . Much more pleasant, much more interesting. Thanks Dispatch.

  • Former subscriber

    I received notice of this change a few hours ahead of time via email. I had already renewed my deal, which was for Sunday-only and unlimited access to the online version. My subscription was purchased through the end of the year, but now I have to pay again to get the online version I was promised when I renewed my Sunday-only. Pretty much a total bait-and-switch. Combine that with a newspaper whose owners and editors constantly work against my interests and for their right-wing rich friends, and you have the proverbial “last straw” for me. I’m not paying extra to people who are fighting against so much that I believe in

  • larryc43230

    I have had a subscription to the Columbus Dispatch for more than 40 years. Between 2004 and 2005, the price I paid on an annual basis was $166.40. Beginning in 2009, the price rose to $207.48 per year. Beginning in 2011, the price rose to $254.28 per year. As of my last payment, made in June, the price is now $332.28 per year. That’s almost exactly a doubling of the price since 2008. And now, to add insult to injury, they want me to pay for on-line access to the same information I get on paper. I receive twice-delay news updates by e-mail from the Dispatch; yesterday, when I clicked on a link that took me to the 11th article on their Web site that I wanted to read, I was informed I would have to pay. Enough is enough. I’ve unsubscribed from their e-mail updates, because I refuse to pay any more for news than I’m already paying. It saddens me to say this, but I’m also strongly considering dropping my paper subscription. This from someone who has read the Dispatch since the early 60s when I also delivered the Dispatch when it was a morning newspaper. Back when they introduced kids like me to the world of commerce by offering them paper routes.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tom.severns Tom Severns

    I’m a long-time print subscriber and only use the online edition in two circumstances: when my paper delivery is late and when I’m traveling and my home delivery is on “vacation hold.” At one time subscribers received a credit for the hold period, but now we’re charged whether we receive a paper or not. One would think that the least the Dispatch could do would be to allow online access at no additional charge when home delivery is on hold. The next time I’m out of town I plan to either cancel my subscription or continue delivery and let my neighbor have my paper (probably the former) – there is no way I’ll pay the Dispatch for NOTHING!

    Incidentally, the monthly rates you show are special introductory rates for new customers only. My home delivery is $26.36 per month.

    • larryc43230

      My current monthly rate comes out to $332.28/12 = $27.69. It would appear that they charge me $1.33/month more because I pay every six months. Another reason to reconsider my subscription.

    • Steve Brown

      Thanks for the clarification, Tom. I changed the story to say “new subscribers.”

  • Ira

    $20.99 for new subscribers to both services? Do I feel ripped off as a current subscriber or what for paying nearly $10 more for both services? Maybe if they were apolitical I would feel better.

  • Anonymous

    I hate to admit this, but I pay $27.74 per month. I moved here 15 years ago and have been a full-time subscriber from that point. Now they want more money from me?

    This is the last straw for me. Their politics are way out of step with me, the delivery service is not what it used to be, and the cost is too high. I am canceling at the end of the month, when my subscription runs out.

  • Will

    I pay by the year and have approximately three months left on my subscription. When I last renewed, I was told this included access to the e-edition as well as the daily delivery of the paper. How can the Dispatch arbitrarily change the terms of my subscription during its term?

    Also I would like to know why having the paper delivered daily costs the same as having access to the e-edition only? I can’t believe the cost of printing the paper and delivering it is the same as creating an electronic edition of the paper.

    I wonder if the Wolfe family is making the same kind of financial sacrifices they are constantly editorializing for the middle class to make. I doubt it!

    The way this whole situation has been handled leaves much to be desired. To me it’s clear the Dispatch has no appreciation or loyalty to their long term subscribers.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tom.severns Tom Severns

    An update: I received an email yesterday from Phil Pikelny advising me that in fact print subscribers placing their subscription on vacation hold WILL be given “complimentary” access to the e-edition during the hold period. Apparently the denial of access I experienced last week was a “kink” that has been worked out. Time will tell.

  • Anonymous

    Well, what is going on with The Dispatch? This morning 8/28, they say they have “major” issues and have not delivered the paper yet. Their web site has been flakey, too. I feel a rate increase coming!

    • larryc43230

      The amount I’m charged for my (print) Dispatch subscription has more than doubled over the past six years. I refuse to pay any more for news from the Dispatch. Since my morning newspaper wasn’t delivered before I had to leave home for the day today, and I (for all intents and purposes) no longer have access to their news on-line, I’m definitely not getting what I paid for. I’ve been a Dispatch subscriber for more than forty years; for the first time, I’m seriously contemplating dropping my subscription for good.