Le Devoir to charge for tweets

Though it remains the only major newspaper in Quebec to charge readers for complete access to its website, Le Devoir apparently wants to increase the scope of its paywall, and is starting a pilot project that could see users paying for Twitter updates.

Le Devoir’s journalists have been quietly setting up Twitter accounts (you can see media reporter Stéphane Baillargeon’s here) in preparation for this plan.

How it would work isn’t too complicated: It takes advantage of a Twitter feature that allows people to protect their accounts and only allow those who are authorized to receive their tweets. The trick is coordinating the paper’s subscriber database (those who subscribe to Le Devoir would get the tweets for free) with some way of automatically authorizing (and de-authorizing, as the case may be) access to the Twitter accounts.

Le Devoir’s Web technology team says it’s just about ready to begin wide testing of this new system, for a full public launch sometime in the summer. It’ll be up to the marketing and editorial sides to find a way to make readers want to pay to read updates from the paper’s columnists and reporters.

Whether anyone will pay for bits of information 140 characters at a time is the big question. But Le Devoir’s paywall exists, so why not extend it to Twitter?

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