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Media Roundup: Wall Street Journal to Use Micropayments, Metro Sells U.S. Papers and More

Wall Street Journal to use micropayments -- The Wall Street Journal announced that it will begin charging for content using a micropayment system this fall. Micropayments are a system where readers pay a small fee for each article read. The paper said that it would charge a "rightfully high" price for content. Currently, the Wall Street Journal is one of the only newspapers that charge a subscription fee for online content, and the Journal would be the largest to begin accepting micropayments. When his company first purchased the Journal, News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch spoke of keeping online content free, but since the advertising downtown he has increased his calls for newspapers to charge for content online. [Source: Financial Times]

Metro sells U.S. Papers -- Metro International has sold its U.S. versions to Seabay Media, a company headed by a former Metro USA CEO. The Metro dailies, available in New York, Philadelphia and Boston, are a free tabloid often given away near public transportation stops. Because the paper does not offer subscriptions, it has been hit particularly hard by the recent advertising downtown. The new owners will continue to publish the papers under the Metro brand name as part of the deal. [Source: paidContent]

Select publishers to show TV commercials between Web Pages -- ShortTail Media has been signing up publishers to run 15 and 30 second ads between Web pages. So far, the company has signed up Reuters, MSNBC.com and The Weather Channel. The move for TV-like ads comes as many publishers are emboldening their advertising offerings on the Web. Earlier in the year, a group of publishers agreed to test larger, more interactive display ads. Shortail's CEO is the former head of CNN.com. [Source: Business Insider]

Star-Ledger extends cuts -- After offering buy outs to 200 of its employees earlier in the year, The Newark Star-Ledger is cutting salaries and benefits for its remaining employees. The paper will reduce salaries on a sliding scale, reducing the first $40,000 by five percent and the second $40,000 by ten percent. The Star-Ledger will also require employees to contribute to 25 percent of their health care plan. The cuts will take affect July 1st. Earlier in the year, the paper halted pension matches and instituted furloughs. [Source: MediaBistro]

San Diego Union-Tribune lays off 192 -- Fresh off of a sale to Platinum Equity, the paper's new owners immediately took to cutting roughly 18 percent of the jobs at the paper. The layoffs will be effective July 6, and those cut will receive transition benefits. It is unclear how the newsroom was affected as the number of cuts in each department was not disclosed. The paper reaches over 600,000 readers a day and won its forth Pulitzer Prize this year. [Source: San Diego Union-Tribune]

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