SAN FRANCISCO – With their advertising revenue drying up, newspaper publishers spent much of the spring and summer debating whether to cut off free online access to some of the material they run in their shrinking print editions.
It looks like the talk will turn to action this fall, when some large newspapers are expected to put up Internet toll booths.
They’ll be testing readers’ willingness to pay for information and entertainment that mostly has been given away online for the past 15 years. That happened largely because most publishers could afford to subsidize their Web sites with profits from their print franchises. But now those profits have crumbled, just as the prices for online ads are tumbling, too.