We have so many newspapers. We have a paid digital environment, so we ask people to subscribe to our digital service, or we do something that most newspapers don't do: we actually sell articles by the article. We have what we call a micropayment system. If you wanted to read just one article on the Winnipeg Free Press website, you'd pay 27¢, and it's a bargain, by the way, at 27¢.
We've had a fair amount of success. We sell literally thousands of articles a week on a per-article basis. A lot of people thought this wouldn't work, but we've set up a payment system that makes it work. We have a little under 5,000 people now who buy on a per-article basis. We also have about the same number of people who actually have full-access subscriptions, so there are also paying subscribers.
We set this up somewhat reluctantly. I was always an advocate of having a wide-open digital service that was free for everyone to use, but we found that we couldn't attract enough advertising to support it. Our audiences really aren't big enough. No newspaper's audience is really big enough, not in the Canadian environment. Services such as Google and Facebook make money by repeating advertising hundreds of millions of times. Online advertising rates have gone down a great deal in recent years—in recent months, even—so we can't do it. We reluctantly went to a paid digital environment, and we've had a lot of success with it because there is demand for local content. People do want to know about their local communities.
Everyone has great taste like you, Mr. Vandal, and reads the Winnipeg Free Press. There is a demand, and they are willing to pay for it.