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As a paywall ( listen ? / I ) - from the English lehnübersetzt payment wall , the Germans also pay barrier - refers to a mechanism by which specific content of a site only after paying a fee, or the conclusion of a Subscriptions are visible ( paid content ). The term is particularly common for websites of newspapers and magazines that try to use a paywall to develop an alternative business model that is not or only partially based on financing through advertising . The reason for the introduction of such payment barriers is given by the publishing houses to compensate for missing advertising revenues on the World Wide Web . Audio file / audio sample


For a long time, the Wall Street Journal was the only major newspaper that had been providing content completely behind a paywall since 1998 and requiring readers to subscribe after personal registration. In June 2010 the London Times followed suit. In 2011 the New York Times introduced another paywall variant: The concept of the so-called “metered paywall” stipulates that a reader who visits a certain number of online articles per month is asked to pay. This does not apply to print subscribers or internet users who are directed to the homepage via a link from a search engine, blog or social network. This procedure is implemented using JavaScript code and cookies .

The Internet newspaper The Daily pursued the system of offering all content only against payment for a corresponding app or subscription; it had to be discontinued due to a lack of acceptance. The Madsack media group has been using both freemium and metered models in daily newspapers since the beginning of 2012 .

The taz relies on so-called social payment . In the spring of 2011, a model called “taz-Zahl-ich” was introduced in which the reader is asked to voluntarily transfer an amount - per article, once or regularly - to thank you for the content of the Newspaper to remain freely available. In November 2014 it was announced that it has earned over 300,000 euros since the model was introduced - an average of 10,000 euros per month. The FairUse subscription was launched on's online presence in October 2014 . Accordingly, ad blockers should either be deactivated or a fixed amount paid monthly.

Following the example of the New York Times, the Neue Zürcher Zeitung also introduced a paywall at the end of 2012 .

Le Temps , Tages-Anzeiger / Newsnet in Switzerland, Haaretz in Israel and other newspapers introduced similar concepts. Just like the Springer newspapers Berliner Morgenpost and Hamburger Abendblatt in Germany, where Welt Online (since December 12, 2012) and (since June 2013) are operated with payment barriers based on the metered paywall concept . Sü and FAZ.NET also wanted to introduce paid content by the end of 2013. At Sü a mixture of freemium and metered models is planned.

Contrary to their original plans, Zeit Online has now announced that it does not want to introduce paid content.

In December 2013, the Federal Association of German Newspaper Publishers (BDZV) announced that 70 newspaper titles in Germany had now set up paid content models on their websites. In November 2014 there were already 100 German daily newspapers that had introduced a payment barrier.

The Blendle platform brings together newspapers and magazines from various publishers nationwide. 56 titles are offered behind a paywall; payment is made for each article accessed. After the first year, over 250,000 users had registered on Blendle's Dutch website.

A 2017 study by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at Oxford University found that paywalls are now an essential part of the digital media landscape. Based on a sample of 171 news websites in six European countries, the researchers found that around 66% of all newspapers now have a paywall on their websites. However, the study also found that the number of users who pay for content on the Internet remains low and cannot compensate for the increasing losses of media organizations due to the shrinking advertising market.


After the introduction of the paywall at the London daily The Times in June 2010, the website lost a good two thirds of its readers. A study by UKOM / Nielsen on behalf of the magazine “Marketing” showed that even those readers who could have afforded an online subscription were deterred from using the website by simply having to register. This is disadvantageous for the advertising customers because they want to address a certain minimum number of wealthy customers behind a paywall. In addition, the newspaper lost income from the lucrative additional business such as the Sunday Times Wine Club , because these are only accessible via an upgrade of the online subscription, which has proven to be another hurdle, the magazine continues. That is why many prominent advertisers stayed away. Of course, a website with a pay barrier is not suitable for advertising aimed at a mass audience. According to other reports, three quarters of previous readers stayed away, and the Guardian calculated that 90 percent of previous readers were lost. The Times’s market share of all British newspapers online had fallen from 15 to less than one percent at the time. In an interview from January 2015, the Guardian's Executive Director of Digital Strategy , Wolfgang Blau , spoke out against the introduction of a paywall, as higher revenues could be achieved without a paywall.

After the first six months with a paywall, the general manager of “Welt online” drew an initial balance sheet at a BDZV meeting . He did not give the specific number of payers; he just described it as "encouraging". On August 7, 2013 it was announced that the number of digital subscribers to WELT as of June 30, 2013 was more than 47,000. However, the significance of the figures with regard to the willingness to pay for content online was discussed, since the subscription was advertised and sold in combination with an iPad mini, among other things.

In June 2014, IVW published sales figures for paid content offers for the first time. According to this, "Bild" sold 200,571 digital subscriptions in May 2014, while "Welt" sold 52,672 electronic subscriptions in the same period.

During the 2016 US presidential election, three major New York daily newspapers temporarily suspended their paywalls.

See also


Web links

Wiktionary: Pay barrier  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: Paywall  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ... see also toll barrier and customs barrier ...
  2. Jeremy W. Peters: The Times Announces Digital Subscription Plan in the New York Times, March 17, 2011.
  3. Background: How does a “paywall” work? , dpa in Westdeutsche Zeitung from December 11, 2012
  4. Whoever relies on the "paywall" in Germany , of July 30, 2012
  5. ^ Mathias Bröckers: Pay-Wahl or Pay-Wall , of November 21, 2012. Accessed on September 6, 2013.
  6. - "Taz" skips the 300,000 euro mark with the payment model . Article dated November 26, 2014, accessed December 11, 2014.
  7. - calls on users to “FairUse” . Article dated October 8, 2014, accessed December 11, 2014.
  8. ^ The wall can come , of November 21, 2012
  9. ^ Paywall for "Welt" and "Bild" , Frankfurter Rundschau of December 3, 2012
  10. content? Behind the Wall ( Memento from October 15, 2012 in the Internet Archive ), Media Monitor of the Institute for Journalism at the Technical University of Dortmund from February 13, 2012
  11. Der SPIEGEL 32/2013, p. 56 ff.
  12. ^ Sü before the introduction of paid content , dvn online, accessed on November 5, 2014
  13. heise - Paywall: Süddeutsche raises the payment barrier on the Internet . Article dated February 28, 2015, accessed February 28, 2015.
  14. Archived copy ( memento of August 8, 2013 in the Internet Archive ), accessed on July 6, 2013
  15. DIE ZEIT: No paid content on Zeit-Online , dvn online, accessed on November 5, 2014
  16. Federal Association of German Newspaper Publishers (BDZV): Paid content - online subscription costs an average of eight euros . Press release dated December 17, 2013, accessed December 17, 2013.
  17. - Germany: Almost a third of the newspapers online use payment models . Article dated November 4, 2014, accessed November 5, 2014.
  18. [1] . Article dated April 28, 2015, accessed August 8, 2015.
  19. Alessio Cornia, Annika Sehl, Felix Simon, Rasmus Kleis Nielsen: Pay Models in European News . In: Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism (Ed.): Digital News Report 2017 . Oxford 2017 ( [PDF]).
  20. Hard times . In: Marketing. July 21, 2010, 17. Retrieved from: Questia, September 6, 2013 (via The Wikipedia Library; this article is only available behind a paywall, login required).
  21. Ben Schwan: Times tests paid content online. The great user escape . In: taz. July 21, 2010. Retrieved September 6, 2013.
  22. - "Guardian" -Digitalchef: "Can achieve higher revenues without a paywall" . Article dated January 29, 2015, accessed January 30, 2015.
  23. FAZ: "The number of subscribers is encouraging"
  24. DIE WELT draws positive interim results for its payment model . Press release of August 7, 2013, accessed on August 9, 2013
  25. Stefan Niggemeier - What the number of 47,000 digital "world" subscribers really says . Article dated August 8, 2013, accessed August 9, 2013
  26. IVW identification of paid content . Retrieved June 19, 2014.
  27. IVW - Admission Procedure - Paid Content - Admission procedure for digital advertising media offers (apps and websites) with costs ( Memento from June 25, 2014 in the Internet Archive ). Retrieved June 19, 2014.
  28. - IVW Paid Content: Identification only starts with "Image" and "World" . Article dated June 17, 2014, accessed June 19, 2014.
  29. "Bild" has 200,000 digital subscribers . Article dated June 18, 2014, accessed June 19, 2014.
  30. ( memento from)