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World famous news parody site The Onion is now insisting users must pay to access its content.
A new paywall has been erected which limits the amount of content users can see before having to pay a fee. The paywell is similar to those put up around the sites of The New York Times, The Times of London and the Wall Street Journal but slightly less restrictive.
Onion users are given a maximum of five premium page views on the site, before a notification pops up detailing the payment structures required to continue viewing the site.
Users are given the option of subscribing to what the notice calls “America’s finest news source” for US$2.95 a month or US$29.95 a year.
Digital commerce site, paidContent, reports that the subscription service is currently limited to overseas users.
The notice goes on to say that subscribers will have “full access to all of The Onion’s unique and comprehensive coverage of local and international affairs”.
The paywall launch has received a relatively cold reception in the world of social media, with an outcry among its users.
One tweeter, upon hearing the news, served this rather backhanded compliment: “The last reason for me to use the internet is over”.
The outfit behind the parody site, The Onion inc. has been under increased pressure to up revenue as writers from its TV division, The Onion News Network (ONN), joined the Writers Guild of America and threatened to go on strike if its demands were not met.
According to news aggregator, The Huffington Post, these demands centred around compensation and benefits for the writing staff.
A number of more mainstream news sites appear to be changing their minds on the subscription payment model.
According to paidContent, this attitude change follows in the wake of the New York Times’ recent release of its financial results.
The results were far stronger than many expected and bore no reflection of the financial failure many predicted would arise from its paywall system.