NEWS
05/25/2011 02:18 EDT | Updated 11/16/2011 06:04 EST

Montreal Gazette Opts For Online Paywall

(CBC) --The Montreal Gazette, the city's largest English-language newspaper, is introducing a pay-for the-web model on its online site as of Wednesday afternoon at 1 p.m.

The paper has chosen a "metered content" system, which means users can view 20 articles a month for free.

After that limit is reached, viewers will be charged a flat fee of $6.95 per month or $69.95 per year.

Subscribers to the print edition of the Gazette will not have to pay, and some content will not subject to metering, such as blogs and major breaking news stories.

Outside websites affiliated with the newspaper, such as hockeyinsideout.com and westislandgazette.com, will remain accessible to those who chose not to pay the monthly fee.

Gazette publisher and Editor-In-Chief Alan Allnutt said the paper is simply following the lead of other North American newspapers in charging for its online content.

"People's habits are changing," said Allnutt. "We're starting to see the fact that people are willing to pay for different things online that they perhaps weren't in the past."

Allnutt said the paper needs to experiment with different sources of revenue, since there's no guarantee the current advertising revenue model will be viable in the future.

He said 20 views is a substantial number and the new system won't affect the majority of people who scan the site's headlines.

"It'll be people who have essentially substituted our site for the print newspaper that will be most affected by this," Allnutt said.

People who use twitter and are redirected to the Montreal Gazette website through an embedded link will not have to pay to read the initial article.

The changes will only affect the Montreal Gazette; other newspapers owned by the Postmedia Group, such as The Vancouver Sun and The Ottawa Citizen, are not implementing a pay-for-the-web system.