13:45 PM

Major European Newspapers Behind Paywalls

The Berliner Morgenpost and the Hamburger Abendblatt have launched paywalls, and Le Figaro, a major French newspaper is expected to have its paywall ready later this month, reports Paidcontent.org.

Access to all content on morgenpost.de now costs €4.95 (£4.32/$6.79) per month. A premium subscription to abendblatt.de costs €7.95 (£6.93/$10.90) per month. Abendblatt.de has a mixture of free and premium content: it appears it charges extra for content specific to the Hamburg region, while making national news free. Subscriptions for both are renewed on a monthly basis.

The Times, Rupert Murdoch's flagship UK newspaper, is expected to have a paywall in the 2nd quarter of this year.

The good news for US newspaper companies is that they can learn important lessons from the early European newspaper paywall ventures.

Today's New York Times has a report about the debate over newspaper paywalls. Brad Stone writes about the different views of Rupert Murdoch, and Alan Rusbridger, editor of The Guardian.

Media Cache - Free vs. Paid, Murdoch vs. Rusbridger - NYTimes.com

Having "ruthlessly cut the price of his papers to below cost in order to win audiences or drive out competition," Mr. Rusbridger said in a recent speech, "this same Rupert Murdoch is being very vocal in asserting that the reader must pay a proper sum for content -- whether in print or digitally."