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Media Martini: Tightening Paywalls, The New Republic’s Relaunch, Esquire Network

TGIF! Here’s our suggested outline for Friday afternoon: 1) find a comfortable seat, 2) begin drinking martini and 3) read our round-up of the best stories in media this week…

1. Paywall Restrictions Tighten Up at The Boston Globe, The New York Times

The Boston GlobeSome big paywalls are getting tighter this week: The Boston Globe’s ‘flexible’ paywall is starting to toughen up, with fewer stories on the free Boston. com site and limited social sharing. Check out a list of changes as the Globe struggles to “…find the right balance between the free-sharing culture of the Internet and paid access to premium Globe content.”  The New York Times also closed a popular loophole in its paywall, which many users had taken advantage of to access NYT content beyond their monthly quotient of free stories.  According to PaidContent, this decision “comes at a crucial period” when investors are asking if the newspaper will be able to grow its digital subscriber base.

2. The New Republic’s ‘Experimental’ Relaunch

The New Republic debuted a new look in print and online this week, and is trying to take a “highly experimental approach” in its relaunch. The focus is on a responsive HTML5 site that can adapt from desktop to mobile — according to Chris Hughes, 20% of those visiting the web site are coming from mobile.   Hughes also said that social media brings in 25% of website traffic, but that his former employer (Facebook) isn’t the best at spreading stories:  “Facebook has an interesting challenge when it comes to newsfeed products. They tend to reward images rather than links and the sort of journalism we do. It means we spend more time about Twitter.”

3. Hearst’s Esquire Moves Onto Cable TV

Esquire Magazine Jan 2013NBCUniversal has partnered with Hearst’s Esquire to create a network “featuring a broader menu of male-related content.” Esquire’s website will feature a channel dedicated to the network, and any opportunities for Esquire material to be turned into TV content will be explored.  The Esquire Network’s website will be relaunched, featuring original web series and linking back to Esquire.com. It’s a rebranding of NBCUniversal’s G4 cable network, which previously focused only on gadgets and gaming; now programming will expand to include entertainment, food, fashion, women, travel and more.  Will the channel become a “one-stop-shop” for male TV viewers?

Let us know what caught your eye in media this week — and isn’t it about time for your second martini?