Decision to charge for online news seems to have cut readership

Management’s decision to sell subscriptions to its news on the Web appears to have taken a toll on the Spanish-language outlet La Nación.

Readership of the Internet site has dropped, as expected, and upstart daily CR Hoy has taken over as the leading online news site in the country.

Of course, La Nación still has a popular print edition, but the industry is moving more and more to online publication to save on expensive paper..

CR Hoy is promoting its position as the No. 4 site in the country behind Google, Facebook and YouTube with ads on its site.

La Nación, which is in 11th place, is advertising a 25,000-colon premium for those who subscribe. The offer is redeemable at a local store.

Alexa, is the subsidiary that tracks Web site readership. The firm uses a toolbar that Internet users have to download. Consequently, the data is not very precise. But the data do give an indication of popularity. The shifting readership comes at a time when both sites seem to be still struggling to find advertisers.

The other leading Spanish-language daily, El Diario Extra, is in 33rd place on the Costa Rica Internet ranking. That may be more a reflection of its blue-collar readership and lower use of computers. The publishing company still has a robust daily printed paper known for its splashy, sensationalistic style.

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