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Newsday.com Has 35 Subscribers; Staff: Web Site Sucks


It’s been three months since Newsday began charging for access to its $4 million, newly revamped web site. In that time, only 35 people have subscribed, grossing the paper about $9,000, according to an article in the New York Observer.
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The low figure was revealed in a newsroom-wide meeting last week by Newsday publisher Terry Jimenez, according to the report, with one writer answering back:
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“We’re the freebie newsletter that comes with your HBO.”
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Newsday put up a $5 a week pay wall in October for those who don’t have either a subscription to the print edition or Optimum Cable.
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“That’s 35 more than I would have thought it would have been,” said Jimenez to the assembled staff, according to the Observer.
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He argued that the site was not meant to generate revenue, but “as a benefit to loyal subscribers” and told staff the paper had lost $7 million in the first three quarters of last year.
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“The view of the newsroom is the web site sucks,” said one staff member. “It’s an abomination,” said another.
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Cablevision provided the following statement in response to the report: “Millions of Cablevision customers in the New York tri-state area and 75 percent of Long Island households, including all Newsday home delivery subscribers, now have exclusive access to newsday.com at no additional charge… Given the number of households in our market that have access to Newsday’s Web site as a result of other subscriptions, it is no surprise that a relatively modest number have chosen the pay option.”
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The paper is also in the middle of a labor dispute in which it is trying to cut salaries, vacation time, and extend work weeks.


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