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EDGE Magazine ditches paywall – no refund for subscribers

Following in the footsteps of The New York Times and The Toronto Star, EDGE North is ditching the paywall on all its online content.

For nearly two years, the magazine’s online site required readers to pay a $5 monthly subscription fee – or $60 a year. But on Tuesday, they announced on their website that all their content will now be free to view.

“We’re also reducing our publication schedule and refocusing attention on our free print magazine,” the announcement read.

This reduced publication schedule means EDGE will only post a couple of stories a week according to Jeremy Bird, chief operations officer for EDGE’s parent company Verge Communications.

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“We have invested a lot of time, money and resources into getting the project off the ground,” said Bird. “Ultimately what it came down to was due to recent events we decided to pair back our offering.

“It was just getting too difficult to really put out the quality of things that we wanted twice a day, three times a day which we had been doing.

“We didn’t really feel it was fair, so we decided to take down the paywall, pull back our publishing schedule, and make it free to access for everyone.”

The content EDGE produces will stay the same, Bird says. Just not the quantity.

EDGE will continue to publish their daily express newsletter, along with updating their job board Jobs North.

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“Committed to being a vital, independent Northern media voice, we’re also in discussions to publish an online guide to Yellowknife, as well as a special Indigenous-focused edition of the print magazine,” their announcement said.

Instead of online content, Bird explained EDGE will be doubling down on print content and increasing their monthly magazine’s size. Stories featured in the magazine will also appear online.

Before, casual viewers could only read a preview of EDGE’s stories. To get the full story, readers would have to shell out $60 for a yearly subscription. EDGE had just under 1,000 subscribers online.

Now that the paywall is gone though, what about people who still have months left on their subscription?

“Unfortunately circumstances don’t allow us to (give refunds),” Bird said.

“We’ll be constantly looking for ways to honour the people who opened their wallets and tried to support this project.”

Besides allowing subscribers free admission to EDGE events, Bird did not say what else EDGE subscribers will be receiving as compensation.

“We never made much money if any at all from the site,” he explained. “It was more of a community service and one we’re quite proud of, but we’re just not in a position unfortunately now to offer (online content) to our people.”

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