Just a few months after buying The Washington Post, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is making his first significant change to the newspaper’s business model. Starting in May, the Post will lift its online paywall for subscribers of certain local newspapers, including The Dallas Morning News, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. The deal could boost the Post's web traffic while also increasing its national presence in areas where it is not distributed in print.
Like many news organizations, the Post allows people to view a limited number of articles online per month, then charges $7.99 every four weeks for unlimited access. The new deal will give subscribers of other papers free access to the Post's website as well as its smartphone and tablet apps. No money is changing hands between the Post and the local papers, according to the Financial Times.
In the future, the Post could be bundled with other newspapers and even media properties in other sectors. Washington Post President Steve Hills told the Financial Times that digital subscription services such as Amazon Prime and Spotify could one day come packaged with the Post’s content. Bezos is focused on developing “a great digital audience 10 years from now, 20 years from now” rather than immediate profits, Hills said. The newspaper division of The Washington Post Company was losing money before Bezos announced he would buy the flagship paper for $250 million in August.