The Sarasota News Leader, which suspended publication of its award-winning weekly digital publication in August 2014, is planning to resume publication once a sufficient number of paying subscribers has been reached.
In earlier surveys conducted by the News Leader, about two-thirds of subscribers indicated their willingness to pay $25 or more for an annual subscription to the News Leader.
Current plans call for resumption initially as an online publication, with articles published on the News Leader website on a continuing basis throughout the week, with weekly summary emails sent to subscribers. Based on readers’ feedback, it was felt an online format, as used by the News Leader in its first five months of publication in 2012, would provide the most economical publishing platform, allowing for the resumption of publication with a smaller base of paying subscribers.
With the expected growth of paid subscriptions, the News Leader plans eventually to return to publishing the digital weekly edition, the introduction of a print edition, more frequent editions than weekly, or a combination of these possibilities.
As soon as negotiations are completed with a paywall contractor to manage the website, existing subscribers will be contacted to receive an offer to become “charter subscribers.” All charter subscribers will be offered a $25 annual rate to subscribe to the News Leader, and that rate will not increase as long as they remain subscribers … even if the News Leader grows into a daily publication or expands into a print edition.