USA: Rolling Stone puts entire archive online, but behind paywall

Wenner Media’s flagship brand Rolling Stone magazine relaunched its website today, with more content, including all of the editorial of the current and past issues. It won’t be free however, visitors will have to pay a $3.95 monthly fee ($29.99 a year) to access all of the archive material.

Rs new RollingStone.com has digitized all of its 43-year archive of back issues and has made them available in this major redesign of the site. Visitors to the front page of RollingStone.com will still get free access to breaking news stories and some slideshows. But the deeper and archival material will sit behind a sub wall that bundles a print subscription with a full-year access fee. According to the Associated Press report on the business model, however, current print subscribers to the magazine will not get full Web site access as part of their subscription.

According to min’s Digital Media Boxscores, RollingStone.com had 5.2 million unique users in January 2010 and accrued 34.5 million page views that same month. The AP, citing comScore, puts the RS online audience much smaller, at only 1.3 million for March.  You gotta love internet metrics for their reliability!

Until last year, RollingStone.com had been under the control of music and streaming media company RealNetworks. Wenner Media regained control of the site a few months ago with the intention of relaunching under its own expanding digital media unit.

Wenner Media, still controlled by founder Jann Wenner, also publishes US Weekly and Men’s Journal.

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