The parent company of the Bloomington Pantagraph newspaper is moving forward with charging for on-line content. As many media companies are doing... Lee Enterprises has been experimenting with pay walls on newspaper web sites. Chairman Mary Junck says there has been no adverse impact on digital advertising revenue for papers in Montana and Wyoming. The number of unique visits has continued to grow and page views remain strong. Junck says Lee plans a new flight of digital subscriber programs within three months and hopes to have paid digital content in most of its markets by the end of the year. The challenge to converting free sites to paid sites is it could drive consumers to competitors. But, Junck is citing new studies showing Lee's newspapers and digital products reach 82% of the adults in its 12 largest markets over a week, including 80% of people 18-29 years old. The company is hoping that level of saturation will survive forcing people to pay to view the product. Industry watchers say it's likely most newspapers would like to charge for on line content, but no one wants to go first. Lee says its mobile and tablet page views are up 225% for January compared to the same month a year earlier.
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