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WCPO Cincinnati to Charge For Premium Online Content

WCPO Cincinnati will debut a premium subscription service for its site in January, on the heels of hiring extra editorial staff to make the site's content richer. The enhanced debuted Nov. 21, 2013.

Stations have long prided themselves on free content. Rich Boehne, chairman, president and CEO of parent Scripps, has hinted at his plans to charge for local TV digital content for years. "I'm fully convinced that what we see today, both in local broadcast and newspapers offering so much content for free, is not a sustainable model," he told investors in New York late in 2010.

The hurricane mobile app at its WPTV West Palm Beach, for example, sells for $4.99.

Over the past year, has added more than 30 editorial resources, says Scripps, including veteran reporters covering local crime and justice, politics, business, education and the arts.

"We've built a best-in-class digital news experience that delivers on local depth, perspective and analysis while continuing to dominate the marketplace on the investigative reporting, breaking news and weather coverage the audience depends on us for," said Adam Symson, chief digital officer at Scripps. "Our first major step came when we grew our team and introduced new digital reporters. Next, we unveiled our redesigned website and news apps for the smartphone and tablet. Now we are ready to embark on the next leg of our journey as the market's digital news leader."

The revamped features a "9" icon next to premium story headlines on the website and in its news apps. In January, users will have the option of subscribing to access original stories.

"The new features unfolding at over the next several months reflect the company's commitment to the digital media marketplace and our ability to successfully reimagine ourselves for consumers," said Brian Lawlor, senior VP of television. "Everyone benefits from stronger news operations — our viewers, our digital users and the advertisers across our platforms."