The Globe Goes Behind the Paywall

After months of preperation and research, Canada’s dominant national newspaper The Globe and Mail introduced a new paywall for articles on its website. The Globe isn’t the first major publication to do this, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal also have online paywalls. As do some regional canadian publications, like the Vancouver Province and Ottawa Citizen.

The Globe will charge readers $2o a month for unlimited access to articles. Those who subscribe to the 6-day print version of the paper will have free online access included. Weekend subscribers will pay $5 a month, on top of their regular subscription price. Everyone else is limited to ten articles a month. This is similar to the Postmedia papers I mentioned, who allow readers 15 free articles a month. Any links accessed through social media will not count towards the monthly quota.

The Globe has always been my primary source for both news and sports. I gained an interest in sports media reading (the now-retired) Bill Houston’s columns. Stephen Brunt was a long-time employee. Now working for Sportsnet, he gets my vote as Canada’s premier sports writer. Michael Grange is also a former Globe writer now working at Sportsnet. Many of the best in The Globe‘s sports section have now moved on. Eric Duhatschek, Jeff Blair (who isn’t even Canada’s best baseball writer), Roy MacGregor and David Shoalts are still there, but otherwise the sports section is a shadow of its former self.

However, the paper does still excel in other ares. John Doyle is one of the few TV critics in Canada who will write about soccer coverage. When news broke that Fox Soccer Report was ending, he reported on it in a major publication. He did the same when it became apparent that Canadians wouldn’t get La Liga or Serie A coverage on TV this fall. Steve Ladurantaye, one of The Globe‘s other media columnists is also a worthy read. John Ibbitson is still one of the most trusted columnists in Canadian politics.

All of that said, is it really worth $20 when you can find much of The Globe‘s information elsewhere? As I said, Brunt and Grange now write for Sportsnet. They were two of the reasons I used to visit daily. Thier columns are available for free on, and (among many others) also offer great sports articles, including those from the AP and CP wires, for free. And with a growing number of respected columnists, such as Elliotte Friedman on CBC.

And then there is the National Post, which is quickly gaining respect from me. Through Twitter I’ve discovered Bruce Arthur (sports) and Andrew Coyne (politics) are two of my favourite writers. John Ivison, a Scot who is also on CTV’s Question Period, provides a unique view on Canadian politics considering he only moved here 15 years ago. Sure, the National Post has had its fair share of controversial columnists over its short history, but its free (for now) and its got some great writers.

I know The Globe has to find a way to make money in a new era where most news is consumed online, especially in the valuable 18-54 demographic. However, $20 is a bit steep in my opinion. I don’t plan to pay it, and I don’t think I’ll have much of a problem replacing The Globe with the three Post columnists I mentioned, plus and It is also worth noting that the National Post will also introduce a paywall in January.

NHL Lockout… I don’t have much to say about the NHL’s announcement to cancel games through the end of November, except I hope it comes back December 1 and this man is still alive to see it. A great story that puts it all in perspective.

beIN Coming Soon?… Sportcal, a sports media publication based in Great Britain, has revealed that beIN Sport are “Eyeing tie-up with Canada’s TLN”. A full article is available, albeit it behind a paywall so I don’t have a clue what it says. Rumour is beIN want a minority stake (15-20%) in TLN networks in exchange for TLN’s properties (which include Euroworld Sport and Spanish language TLN Espanol) broadcasting Serie A, La Liga, Ligue 1, the Carling Cup and England’s Championship in Canada. In such an event, Euroworld Sport would likely become beIN Sport Canada. As I’ve said recently, it seems a deal is getting closer.

Premier League 2013-16… The big news in America is that ESPN and FOX are out as Premiership broadcasters following this season. While it is confirmed that they did not win the bid to broadcast EPL matches, it is not known who did. Rumour is that NBCUniversal was the high bidder, which gives them another major international sports event at Fox’s expense. NBC also picked up Formula 1, which currently airs on FOX, earlier this month. beIN Sport is the other possible winner. An official announcement is expected next week.

This means that Ian Darke is out of a full-time job. Darke was once Sky Sports’ #2 before leaving for the top position at ESPN in America. He joins Jon Champion, his UK counterpart who calls games for ESPN over there, as those on the market. One of the two is expected to join new the new British start-up BT, who will broadcast Premiership games in the UK beginning next fall. This would be a prime position for Darke as it would likely allow him to continue working with ESPN US for the 2014 World Cup and Euro 2016.

It is unclear whether NBC will hire its own Premiership commentators, of if they will just use the Premier League Production international feed (where Champion and Darke both work part-time, by the way).

What About Canada?… The Canadian tender was also due last week. Rogers is expected to be the leading bidder, with the Premier League a vital part of the channel since its launch in 1998. EPL is also the backbone of Rogers’ premium channel Sportsnet World. TSN could potentially bid with Rogers, or go at it alone. beIN is the unknown and when the rights are decided may depend on when/if the beIN/TLN deal gets done and approved by the CRTC.

Sportsnet On-Site… I am a bit surprised that Sportsnet’s Jamie Campbell and Gregg Zaun are hosting Sportsnet’s World Series pre-game show from the stadium. In recent years the trend has gone the other way, with networks keeping studio shows in Toronto to offset rising costs. Having a pre-game at the stadium for big events adds to the atmosphere. I know many have switched over to Fox for the World Series, but Sportsnet’s pre-game show for game 1 was worth it for Stephen Brunt’s essay alone.

Through the Knotholes… During game 1 of the World Series, MLB International commentator Gary Thorne noted that the Giants allow fans to view the game through the fence below right field for free (known as knotholes, historically). Thorne and colour commentator Sutcliffe talked about how nice it was for something to be free in the age of rising costs for those attending baseball games. Thorne mentioned hot dogs, pop and beer add to gameday expenses for fans. Sutcliffe subtlely blamed it on Alex Rodriquez’s $27.5 million a year contract.

Dazed and Confused… The CBC threatened to sue CTV over confusing viewers when they introduced the “Big Bang Night in Canada” name. For its part, CTV responded with this sarcastic press release. If you think its bad now, wait until they are both bidding for NHL rights in a year.

Saturday Night AHL… CTV can call a collection of four Big Bang episodes whatever they want, but Sportsnet has the closest thing to Hockey Night in Canada with its AHL broadcasts. With the NHL cancelling games through December 1, Sportsnet has announced its AHL broadcasts for November. They are: Rochester @ Hamilton on November 3, Oklahoma City @ Abbotsford on November 10, Hamilton @ Toronto on November 17, and Milwaukee @ Chicago on November 24. Sportsnet’s Maple Leafs, Oilers and Flames broadcast crews will each get one of the next three games.


Figure Skating: With no NHL on TV tonight, CTV’s coverage of Skate Canada might take away the top Saturday sports rating. Patrick Chan headlines coverage of the men’s free skate at 7:00pm tonight. Brian Williams is back to host CTV’s coverage.

NCAA FB: Oklahoma and Notre Dame are two of the most popular programs in college football. They go into tonight’s game in Norman (8pm, ABC) both ranked in the top 8 in the BCS. The Irish, who are still undefeated, are 5th. Oklahoma have only lost to Kansas State and are 8th. The Sooners are one of two tough road tests remaining for Notre Dame. The other is USC in a month’s time.

MLB: The World Series could well be decided this weekend as San Francisco takes a 2-0 lead to Detroit. Games 3, 4 and 5 are on Saturday, Sunday and Monday night (all 8pm, Sportsnet). The best pitching match-up features Matt Cain against Max Scherzer on Sunday night.  Ryan Vogelsong faces Anibal Sanchez tonight.

EPL: Two of the oldest and biggest rivals in English football meet on Sunday morning as Liverpool make the one mile treck from Anfield to face Everton at Goodison Park (9:30am, TSN2). Liverpool are off to a slow start this season with just two wins in their first eight matches. They sit 11th in the table. Everton are off to a great start as they’re fourth, only behind powerhouses Manchester United, Chelsea and Manchester City. Speaking of Man United and Chelsea, they square off immediately following the Everton v Liverpool match (12pm, Sportsnet World). The winner goes to first place in league.

NFL: Two NFL games stand apart from the rest this weekend. On Sunday the 5-2 Giants travel to Dallas to face the 3-3 Cowboys in a rare nationally televised afternoon game (4:25pm, FOX). The Cowboys beat the Giants at the Meadowlands on opening night. Since then the teams have moved in opposite directions. The Monday night game features top two teams in the NFC West as the 4-3 Cardinals host the 5-2 49ers (8:30pm, TSN).

16 thoughts on “The Globe Goes Behind the Paywall

  1. Too bad about the Globe pay wall. I’ve noticed they still have been good at updating quickly late at night with certain stories. With me working midnights I tend to notice this more than most. TSN and Sportsnet’s website still leave a lot to be desired for breaking news.

    With the lockout I’ve been avoiding SportsCentre mostly since I don’t need to see endless B Roll of CBA negotiations. I did catch a couple of minutes of the NHL panel. Duthie saying “fans want a full 82 game season”. Umm, not really. I know someone who gets NHL Centre Ice every year and he doesn’t care about a full season. He’d rather a season, but he’s saving money right now without the cost of that.

    TSN panel a little out of touch in their bubble. More they want a full season of course, as evidenced by them showing old hockey games and Caddyshack. I like Caddyshack but they are desperate when they are showing movies.

    • I noticed Duthie’s comment too. I don’t want an 82 game season if it means the Stanley Cup Finals start on Canada Day. Just wait until June (assuming the season gets started) and the panels are all making jokes about hockey going into the summer.

      Not like there’s much else for them to show. TSN is losing some 7.5 hours of programming per week and TSN2 is losing about 5. There are only so many things to replace it with, and unlike Sportsnet, they don’t have baseball playoffs or UEFA soccer from earlier in the day. It probably won’t be so bad (at least on main TSN) once NBA starts next week.

  2. The worst thing about the paywall is that is simply doesn’t work. I’m not just referring to all the bugs in it this week, even when they figure that out it is incredibly easy to get around. Opening a story in Chrome’s incognito mode is just one way.

  3. All I’ve got to say about online newspaper paywalls is that there’s plenty of free news elsewhere on the internet to read so I won’t be paying for it on top of my monthly internet bill. For the Globe&Mail’s site, there are easy enough ways around their paywall which I’ve found after viewing 10 articles and getting the paywall. Clearing cookies/cache/offline website data/history/etc in firefox did the trick for me.

    I haven’t missed the NHL so far. MLB playoffs have been great and I’ll have F1 to follow through the end of November. Ask me again in December/January. Work keeps me pretty busy during the week anyway but it’ll be those cold Saturday nights where I’ll miss it probably.

    I agree that it’s nice that Sportsnet is giving the World Series the big treatment by sending the Campbell/Zaun studio on site. It does give the impression that Sportsnet is treating it as a big event rather than taking the cheap route as is usually the case in Canadian sports broadcasting.

  4. The Globe and Mail paywall is disappointing, and I’m a journalist, so I understand its pain. There are too many ways to step around the paywall, but it becomes a hassle. Newspapers can gain international audiences it otherwise wouldn’t have, but can’t seem to take advantage. I offer that for (sadly) non-Canadians, Globe and Mail is a great source of straightforward Canadian news.

  5. I read all four Toronto dailies (the Star, Globe, Post, and Sun) but the Globe and Mail is my go-to paper in the morning. I read the Globe every morning and the Post/Star/Sun throughout the day on my phone, ipod, and in the evening at home. When I heard they were getting a paywall I intended to pay for it, but the price of $270 a year including taxes is (way) too much. How silly was I for even thinking that in the first place though? Proxy anonymyzers are a wonderful thing :)

    For the record, the Post is BY FAR my favourite paper for everything except sports and entertainment. They include news you wouldn’t see in other papers and their lineup of commentary writers is fantastic, the other papers’ writers don’t touch the Post with a 100 foot pole. I just choose the Globe in the morning because I like their website and I hate the Post’s (worst website of them all).

  6. Also chiming in about the paywall. I remember when Newsday put up a hard paywall and I had to stop reading Neil Best’s media coverage. If they don’t count links from social media, I guess I’ll still read Duhatschek but still. And like you said, their sports section is pretty bare.

    I’ve noticed the same thing is happening with the other Toronto dailies: the Star’s sports section has slipped a lot in the past five years, as has the Globe’s, and the Sun’s was never great to begin with. The Post’s been the exception: Bruce Arthur, Eric Koreen and Cam Cole are all interesting reads.

  7. I wouldn’t mind the idea of a paywall so much if they wouldn’t be insulting people’s basic math skills at the same time they push them. I mean it costs *more* to have just the paywalled content than it would to buy the “dead tree version” (which then throws in the paywall content for “free”)

    Not only is this backwards from an environmental point of view (producing the paper and delivering the paper to the reader has a greater environmental impact than just “sending the bits”) its more expensive for them too.

    • You are wrong about the costs.

      • Can you explain how? In delivering the “dead tree version” (In addition to paying for the content which both methods have as a cost) you have the extra costs as follows:

        Printing the newspaper
        Delivering the newspaper to the various locations throughout the province


        Hosting a server
        Paying for bandwidth to deliver the content

        I can’t see how the latter is more than the former

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