News launches 'pay meter'

After reading 25 stories each month, readers will have option of subscribing or making micro-payments

Frequent visitors to the website will soon need to either become subscribing members to obtain full access to unlimited online content or purchase individual stories as they read them.

The new "pay meter" system is similar to what many other media websites, including the New York Times, have instituted over the last few years in order to increase revenue from readers and reduce their reliance on advertising.

The pay-per-story "micropayment" option is a new but growing phenomenon in the media world, as publishers try to offer payment alternatives to subscriptions. visitors who are already subscribing members through the Support Local Journalism program will have full access to all of without additional payment, but they will need to create a user account and login.

"While our commitment to reporting on Danville and San Ramon remains strong, the economics of producing professionally written local content requires help from our readers," said Gina Channell-Allen, East Bay president of Embarcadero Media, which publishes this website.

"As local retailers feel the squeeze of online sellers and big box stores, the growth in revenue we need in order to meet our expenses and to maintain our coverage of the community needs to come from those who directly benefit from it – our loyal readers," Channell-Allen said. "Many of our most avid online readers have not yet become subscribing members and many don't even realize it. That's the group we need to convert into regularly paying members."

Visitors to will be able to view 25 stories per month before being required to pay, although this number will be adjusted downward over time. Not all content counts toward the limit; views of the event calendar, obituaries and Fogster classifieds are all exempt. Return visits to a story already viewed also do not count, so a reader can make and follow comments in Town Square without using up his or her monthly quota of free stories.

Readers will be able to choose between a 7-day pass for $2, a month pass for $6 or an annual subscription/membership for $60. An auto-pay plan for $5 per month is also available.

Those who become subscribing members on will also have unlimited free access to Embarcadero Media's other websites, including

Only subscribing members will be able to access the online archives of the Danville Weekly, the print predecessor of this website, although individual stories may be purchased for 25 cents.

The pay meter system is now in operation, but frequent visitors will not encounter it for several days or weeks, depending on the number of stories they typically view each day. An opportunity to subscribe will appear after 15 stories have been viewed and then a counter is displayed that shows the cumulative number of stories read. attracts over 20,000 unique visitors each month, almost all from the immediate local area.

While pay metering systems are in widespread use on websites operated by daily newspapers, the Embarcadero Media websites are the first known websites of weekly newspapers in the United States to implement such a system.

Embarcadero Media's pay metering system is being implemented through San Francisco-based CoinTent, a micropayment and subscription paywall service.

Readers with questions or having difficulty with setting up accounts should email or read the frequently asked questions page.

- staff

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2 people like this
Posted by William
a resident of San Ramon
on Feb 19, 2016 at 7:18 am

As a reader & advertiser on the site this is a move that will continue the great service to the community. I subscribe to other news sites including the New York Times. Local news is an important & vital service to be an informed & involved citizen.

28 people like this
Posted by Danville Resident
a resident of Danville
on Feb 19, 2016 at 8:24 am

This is very unfortunate. While I enjoy receiving the daily updates on the happenings in our valley, I do not think I will be willing to pay for this service. There is just too much information out there, available without charge. You are not the NEW YORK TIMES, and I am amused by this comparison for your need of a subscription fee. This of course will mean that I cannot see the Advertisements from your Advertisers, which I do find valuable, which is then a loss to both of you.
I'll enjoy this service while it lasts, after which.... good luck.
Danville Resident

16 people like this
Posted by dot
a resident of Danville
on Feb 19, 2016 at 9:20 am

Although I enjoy perusing the information available on your website, I am not willing to pay for it. As Danville Resident stated above, you are not a publication like the New York Times, nor do you run stories and op eds of that caliber. This is a community newspaper. Perhaps you can find more advertisers and not have to do this because this is going to hurt rather than help you, I'm afraid.

13 people like this
Posted by Longtime Resident
a resident of San Ramon
on Feb 19, 2016 at 9:20 am

I agree with Danville Resident and had a chuckle at your comparison to the NYT. Can we now expect New York Times-quality reporting?

4 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Danville
on Feb 19, 2016 at 9:56 am

Will you be adding a world renowned cross word puzzle too?

Like this comment
Posted by PSMacintosh
a resident of Danville
on Feb 19, 2016 at 12:10 pm

Wouldn't it have been more proper to send out an EMAIL/NOTICE to all of your customer email list that described your new policy, rather than to just post this information in a news article that may...or may not... be read by all?

Like this comment
Posted by CR
a resident of San Ramon
on Feb 19, 2016 at 12:56 pm

No way will I pay! I already get too many emails, and have been unsubscribing to a lot! I have the news on the radio in the car and countless channels on TV at home. Sorry to say, you will not be a part of my day. But so be's your choice.

Like this comment
Posted by dbrower
a resident of Alamo
on Feb 19, 2016 at 3:29 pm

Good luck with that.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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