McClatchy Will Not Implement Pay Walls, Happy With Google Links

Duncan Riley - Author

Jun. 15 2013, Updated 9:51 p.m. ET

The strategy led by News Corp. to remove free news content from the web is now under threat with news that one of the United States’ largest newspaper groups will be keeping their links in Google, and their content free.

McClathchy CEO Gary Pruitt said in a speech Tuesday that McClathchy is “very comfortable with free content supported by advertising,” and that “We don’t view [the free model] as fatally flawed.”

Pruitt also discussed their relationship with Google, Yahoo and others, saying that strategic arrangements with Yahoo and Google drive 20% of traffic to the company. “To disengage is to risk marginalization,” Editor & Publisher reported Pruitt as saying.

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Without the support of McClatchy, News Corp’s strategy faces stiff competition from free online news sites covering large sections of the United States market. The move may also encourage other media companies to remain free, positioning News Corp and its supporters as online pariahs that bleed traffic to media companies that aren’t joining the pay wall frenzy.

McClatchy operates 32 daily newspapers in 29 markets, and a range of smaller community newspapers, and is the second largest newspaper publisher in the United States.


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