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January 15, 2010

Mecom to charge for web newspaper content

By Press Gazette

David Montgomery, chief executive of pan-European newspaper publisher Mecom, has said the company is pushing ahead with plans to charge for aspects of its online content.

MeCom, which had €650m net debt this time last year, will unveil its new online payments strategy with its annual results on 17 March.

Ahead of this, Montgomery told that the charging model would not be based around general or international news but on “much more specific content, unique content”.

He said the digital strategy could cover permanent losses in print ad revenue, which he estimated at 5% across Europe, in the long-run, with the help of the £124m cost-cutting programme MeCom’s already implemented.

Montgomery added: “The crisis is not to do with print or newspapers, it [has been] a crisis of advertising …Advertising [decline] is now clearly moderating. People who have written off newspapers have clearly done so far too soon.”

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