Newspapers Bet You'll Pay for Ad-Free Content

Ongo, a new subscription based news service backed by the Washington Post, Gannett, and the New York Times, is betting that users will pay $6.99 a month for ad free online news.

Founder Alex Kazim, an eBay alum, received $12 million in funding from the three publishing giants back in September.

Ongo, which promises a “fundamentally new way” of reading news, aggregates news from multiple sources, and includes full content from the Washington Post, and Gannett’s USA Today, as well as selected content from the New York Times and the Financial Times.

News aggregation online has been around for a while, but Ongo also maintains an editorial staff to cherrypick and promote important or interesting stories.

“Our smart tools ensure that readers get the news they need while our editorial team spotlights the interesting, informative and entertaining stories that shouldn’t be missed,” said Kazim in a statement.

News from other papers such as the Charlotte Observer, Detroit Free Press, and Kansas City Star must be added a la carte style, starting at 99 cents.

With newspaper subscription revenue on the decline, and a slew of news content available for free online, publishers have been scrambling to come up with a new way to make money. The Financial Times currently restricts online news stories behind a pay wall, and the New York Times is expected to follow suit.

Whether users will subscribe to what amounts to a paid version of Google News remains to be seen, but Ongo is hoping that built-in article sharing incentives, free “day passes,” and free one month trial subscriptions will bring them in the door.

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