Torstar launches Toronto Star paywall -

Torstar launches Toronto Star paywall


TORONTO – The Toronto Star has begun charging a fee for non-subscribers who access its web site more than 10 times a month.

The Star told staff details of the program on Monday and announced the change to readers in the Tuesday edition of its paper, the biggest-circulation daily in Canada.

“This marks a major transition for the Star that will help us provide, in print and online, the best and most comprehensive package of news and information in Canada,” Star publisher John Cruickshank wrote in a brief article in the paper.

The first month of digital access costs 99 cents, then $9.99 a month plus HST after that, but will be free for home subscribers who meet certain conditions.

Toronto-area residents who sign up for digital access can also get free home delivery on Saturday until Dec. 31.

Other Canadian media outlets have launched “metered” paywalls that allow readers to access a specific number of free articles each month before they’re asked to pay for further content.

Parent company Torstar Corp. (TSX:TS.B) has been testing the paywall at other newspapers it owns like the Hamilton Spectator and the Waterloo Region Record.

Last year, both the Globe and Mail and National Post owner Postmedia (TSX:PNC.B) began unrolling their own paywall structures.

On Monday, Torstar ended a short-lived venture into small business media coverage, with the closure of two paywalled websites it owned.

Staff at YourMississaugaBiz and YourHamiltonBiz were informed that both sites would cease operations effective immediately.

About 15 employees are affected by the decision, said Bob Hepburn, a spokesman for the media company.

“It’s a business decision based on the economic conditions,” he said in a phone interview.

The YourMississaugaBiz website launched last year while YourHamiltonBiz began operating in January. Both went behind a paywall earlier this year, and readers could subscribe to each website for about $30 per month.

Torstar holds an investment in The Canadian Press as part of a joint agreement with the parent companies of the Globe and Mail and Montreal La Presse.

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Torstar launches Toronto Star paywall

  1. For TorStar this is a stupid, stupid move. It is the most partisan media out there. How is it going to disseminate the Liberal message from behind a paywall?

    • Ahh but Cons won’t know what the ‘evil left’ is up to anymore either.

    • Really? Toronto Star is more partisan than Sun TV? Really?

      • Yes, the paper was founded by the Liberal Party to promote the Liberal Party. Read the Star’s Wiki.

        • I just did and it made no mention of that.

          • You know, they’ve removed it all. I can’t believe it. The Star or whatever it was called back then was bought by the “supporters of Wilfred Laurier” or, in other words the Liberal Party. The Liberal Party and Atkinson continued to run the paper until Atkinson’s death when a trust had to be set up. Part of the conditions of the trust were that the paper continue to support the Liberal Party. This used to be in their Wiki or I wouldn’t have sent you there.

          • What the hell are you talking about? You can track the history of an article on Wikipedia. I went back six months, there was no mention of this. And even if there was, it’s a wiki. Anyone could have written it.

          • Okay, from the Star’s own site, the following “The Evening Star had been bought by admirers (Liberals) of Sir Wilfrid Laurier to support the new prime minister. When they asked Mr. Atkinson to run it, he agreed on two conditions: The Star would be independent of any political party…” Sure we believe you Mr. Atkinson. It then goes on to say “Along with his Methodist upbringing, his early life convinced him that liberalism was the way to a better future…Through the paper, in fact, and as chairman of a Liberal Party advisory committee in 1916, Mr. Atkinson helped to develop Canada’s modern welfare system.” And finally “After he died in 1948, his will left The Star to a Charitable foundation he’d established in 1942, both to be run by trustees familiar with Mr. Atkinson’s policies and beliefs. But a retroactive change in Ontario law barred such a foundation from owning more than ten per cent of any profit-making business. So his trustees were given court permission to buy the paper in 1958, after promising to uphold its longstanding traditions.” One of those longstanding traditions was to support the Liberal Party.

          • In the 1800s, Ontario newspapers were regularly started by supporters of one political party or another to support that party. Many of them merged as it proved impossible to support two papers in a small market – hence papers like the Whig-Standard, Sun-Times, Packet & Times, etc. Things evolved after that.

            Yes, the Star leans left editorially, as the Sun and Post lean right. But the Star played a major role in breaking the ORNGE scandal (and others damaging the Liberals at different levels), which is a funny way to be in the tank for the Ontario Liberals. And the Sun’s editorial support of Rob Ford hasn’t stopped them from pursuing their own angles on the crack allegations.

          • Perhaps those breaking scandals were controlled breaks. Smitherman retired from the Ontario Legislature to run for mayor. David Peterson’s sister-in-law Deb Matthews was given the Health portfolio. If you have to get rid of a scandal, do you want it to happen on the watch of the head honcho’s sister-in-law? No you don’t. You expose it early so she can take credit for solving it which is exactly how it turned out. Smitherman was not involved in politics and could take the heat.

          • Or how about it’s the media doing its job, which is to sell newspapers. The Star and other papers have investigative reporters whose job it is to investigate things. Sometimes those things are embarrassing or troublesome to the government, which is sometimes Liberal. Occam’s razor.

          • I doubt it Moe – I tried commenting several times regarding Smitherman when he was in office on the Toronto Star comments and they would not publish. The minute he isn’t going to be an embarrassment to the Liberals, he gets thrown under the bus.

          • No. The tradition is to support the Atkinson Principles

            It shouldn’t be hard to compare the partisanship of the Star and the Sun.

            While most often endorsing the Liberals the Star has also endorsed at different times, the NDP(including in the last election), the Tories, and the provincial PCs, and anti-provincial PC strategic voting.
            Has The Sun ever endorsed anyone but conservatives?

          • Only in part. It says ” Mr. Atkinson’s policies and beliefs”. If it meant the Atkinson Principles only it would have said the Atkinson Principles. The Atkinson Principles were his policies, liberalism and Methodism were his beliefs. And yes, the Star has endorsed other parties but I really don’t give a hoot who they endorse on voting day. It’s what they do the other 1500 days between elections that count. The G&M does the same thing. They endorse Harper to be elected but then spend the rest of the period bashing him.

          • Whether you “give a hoot” or not doesn’t change the nature of facts or evidence.

            I assume you can’t relate a single instance of The Sun endorsing any party but Conservatives, while the most partisan media out there, which has to support the Liberal Part, uh, didn’t support them in the last election. But hey, it’s just an endorsement, I’m sure the Liberal Party often endorses other parties during elections.

          • Lenny, this article talks about the Toronto Star. I couldn’t care less what the Sun does as I don’t read it. Stick to the topic.

          • Except that it was you that introduced other media into the discussion with your claim that the Star is “is the most partisan media out there.”

          • Uh, the headline to the article is Torstar launches Toronto Star paywall. The article isn’t the Toronto Sun launches a paywall.

          • Uh, you said the Star is “the most partisan media out there”. This is a relative judgment in which comparison to all other media is implicit.

          • Well I usually take anything the star writes with a grain of salt anyways.

            But I would not put them in the same camp as Sun News.

            Even from your description, you have to go back several decades to find anyone with any serious political ties in management positions at the paper.

            Whereas the VP of Sun News is actually Harper’s former communications director.

            The Star has endorsed non-Liberal candidates and governments before, whereas I’m unawares of the Sun chain ever not endorsing conservatives.

            The Star also broke major scandals against Liberals, notably ORNGE, whereas I’m unaware of a single scandal Sun News has ever broken against a conservative government.

          • That’s because wallhousewart fabricated the whole thing.

  2. All of these paywalls are so easily bypassed anyway. Either use incognito/privacy mode, clear out your cookies, inject a tiny bit of javascript into the page or change your user-agent to google’s webcrawler.

    I was sitting around at a friend’s house on Sunday and picked up a paper to do the crossword, flipped through it and it was nothing but stories I had already read online 2-3 days prior.

  3. Welp, this is why I no longer click on or link to Globe and Mail stories. Now I’ll stop reading the Toronto Star. Congratulations on your inevitable march into obscurity, Toronto Star. At least The Guardian is still free.

  4. Just one more reason not to read The Star. I am sure the paper will find a way to blame this on Rob Ford. Thanks Rob..