Reuters’ online paywall is unlikely to deter PR pitches

Reuters News will face tough competition with its subscription-based, digital content.

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

Reuters News’ decision to convert to a subscription-based product is unlikely to deter PR pitches, say experts. 

With the move, Reuters is targeting business professionals. Monthly subscriptions will cost $34.99. But for a short time period, Reuters content will remain free, requiring registration after readers view five articles, according to its coverage of the new pay structure.  

“As media strategy consultants, we always look to work with the right outlets and the right reporters to tell each story,” said Lori Beecher, partner and MD of media and content strategy at Ketchum. “When Reuters is the right fit, we’ll continue to pitch them as we always have, regardless of the paywall.”

Susan Peters, president of Greybridge PR, agreed, noting that with Reuters’ high caliber product, the paywall would not change her pitching strategies.

Christine Perkett, the CEO of Mindfull Marketing + PR told PRWeek that a paywall may mean less overall eyeballs but could also lead to higher quality in views.

She emphasized that even in today’s age of focusing on the numbers of followers and social media “likes,” there’s a premium on having the right followers and engaged readers.

“Business readers who want a publication they can trust and rely on will continue to pay for quality content,” said Perkett. “It might actually cut down on less relevant pitches for the reporters, which is only a good thing all around.”

She commented that with the rise of social media, experience, training and integrity of reporters has been undervalued over the last decade.

“But quality journalism matters more today than ever,” Perkett said.

Media companies are always looking for new and creative ways to monetize their content, and Reuters is the latest of many outlets that have chosen to shift to a paywall business model, added Beecher.

Peters opined that Reuters will have stiff competition for business readers, who have limited budgets to spend.

Noting other publications with paywalls, she said, “It’s a crowded market and Reuters is late to the game.”

Competitor also charges $34.99 for an all-access digital package. The Wall Street Journal online has a $38.99 monthly price tag. The Financial Times’ cost per month is $40 for standard digital subscription and $60 for premium content, containing additional analysis.

The New York Times online costs $25 per month. The Guardian on the internet remains free, adhering to the principle that access to news is critical for an informed society. They depend upon contributions, and voluntary subscriptions with a basic monthly price of $9.99.

On CNN, media reporter Oliver Darcy acknowledged that news organizations are focusing on streaming, subscriptions and standards. But with the Reuters decision, he commented that this trend of quality news moving behind paywalls is a growing concern regarding public access to information.

On Monday, Reuters veteran Alessandra Galloni became its editor-in-chief. Formerly the global news editor, she is the first woman to hold this position in the news organization’s 170-year history. Previously, she had worked at The Wall Street Journal for over 12 years. Galloni replaced Stephen Adler, who retired after a decade at Reuter’s editorial helm.

On April 13, Reuters News reported it contributed approximately 10% to Thomson Reuters’ $5.9 billion total revenue. However, the news division with its 2,450 journalists is under some pressure. The article stated analysts referred to it as “a drag on the parent company’s revenue growth and profit margins,” and “Reuters president Michael Friedenberg is pushing to increase sales and boost profitability.”

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