San Francisco—For 10 years, the free SFGate.com was the online home of Hearst Corp.'s San Francisco Chronicle, the largest-circulation newspaper in Northern California. With the launch Sunday of SFChronicle.com, the Chronicle joined major metropolitan newspapers such as The New York Times, Washington Post and Boston Globe in introducing a paid subscription model for digital content.
Unlike the Times and Post, which is set to institute a paid model this summer, the Chronicle will not implement a metered model that allows users to view a certain number of free articles before triggering a paywall. Rather, it is using a dual-site strategy similar to that of the Boston Globe, which for the past 18 months has operated the free Boston.com in parallel with the paid BostonGlobe.com.
In a note to readers published on SFChronicle.com, San Francisco Chronicle and SFGate.com President Mark Adkins explained the two models: “If you already subscribe to the paper, SFChronicle.com becomes part of your subscription package at no additional charge; for nonsubscribers, it's available for purchase. SFGate.com readers will be happy to know that the Gate remains a free website.”