The Washington Post may become the next major newspaper to adopt a digital paywall and institute a premium for online access to content. Both The Wall Street Journal and one of the Post's own staff writers are reporting on the change, which would take effect in 2013. Sources indicate the paper would follow an approach similar to that of the New York Times, which has found success by demanding a fee of web readers after they've accessed 10 articles per month. Other publications have rapidly followed suit, though executives at the Washington Post have seemingly resisted the trend until now.
But even as circulation profits are on the upswing, an industry-wide drop in print advertising has done the Post no favors; the company reported operating losses of $56.3 million through the first nine months of 2012 according to the Wall Street Journal. As such, paywalls have become a preferred tool with which to offset the troubled print sector. The Financial Times is among the publications that have seen strong growth with a focus on digital content. Some have chosen to abandon print altogether: after nearly 80 years of publication, Newsweek will soon move to an all-digital format. The Washington Post doesn't appear to be in such dire circumstances, but it seems an evolving industry has forced its hand.