Cablevision Systems will make most of the content on Newsday.com -- the Web site of the Long Island, N.Y., newspaper it acquired last year -- available exclusively to Newsday home delivery and its Optimum Online broadband customers at no additional cost starting Oct. 28.
The newspaper industry has been under siege by steadily winnowing subscriber rolls and the onslaught of free Internet news sources. A growing number of industry pundits has advocated moving previously free-to-consumer Web sites to a subscription-based model.
Cablevision in July 2008 completed its $650 million acquisition of 97% of Newsday Media Group through the formation of a partnership with the paper's former owner Tribune Co. The companies cited expected synergies between the cable and newspaper operations, by giving advertisers more ways to target local readers and viewers.
According to Cablevision, approximately 75% of Long Island households are already Newsday home delivery and/or Optimum Online customers. Cablevision has about 2.5 million broadband subscribers and Newsday's weekday circulation earlier this year was 368,000.
Newsday.com will offer "limited public content" to those who don't subscribe to the newspaper or Cablevision service, including the homepage, classifieds, school closings, obituaries, weather and entertainment listings. An online-only subscription to the site will be $5 per week.
Starting Oct. 28, Cablevision's Optimum Online customers will be authenticated automatically to the full Newsday.com site through their cable modem. To access the site away from home, Optimum Online customers will need to register with Newsday.com separately, as will current Newsday home delivery customers.
"Providing exclusive benefits for our customers is something Cablevision has been doing for decades, starting with the launch of News 12 in 1986," Cablevision Local Media president Tad Smith said in a statement. "We look forward to growing this unique service and, with Newsday's tremendous understanding of the Long Island market, believe that newsday.com will be a terrific resource for news and information specifically tailored to the local community."
Smith, formerly CEO of Reed Business Information (publisher of Multichannel News), joined Cablevision in August.
Last month, Newsday publisher Timothy Knight resigned after five years at the paper and Cablevision appointed Terry Jimenez, formerly publisher of a sister paper, AM New York, as his replacement.