Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Paying for Content: The Debate and the Experimentation Continue

Link to February 3 New York Times article, "Some News Outlets Ready to Try Charging Online Readers".

Excerpt: Extracting payment from online readers has been called everything from the next great folly of print journalism to its salvation, but to get a glimpse of how it really looks, head to Lancaster, Pa.

Specifically, head to the offices of The Intelligencer Journal-Lancaster New Era, one of the first handful of news outlets to acknowledge in interviews that it intends, in the next few months, to start using a software system developed by the entrepreneurs Steven Brill, L. Gordon Crovitz and their partners, which they are calling Press+. (This link includes sample screens for Lancaster Online.)


We are quite a ways from widespread adoption of paid content, so it’s too soon to tell how successful they’ll be,” said Rick Edmonds, a media business analyst at the Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Fla. But most publishers will not want to develop their own software systems, he said, and assuming Press+ works well, its chances of catching on “look pretty good.

Decisions, decisions.
  • Sites can let nonpaying readers see the top of an article, while only paying readers see the whole thing; they can allow unlimited reading of certain articles, while charging for others.
  • They can charge by the month or by the click.
  • They can limit free reading to a certain number of articles a month.
  • They can treat readers differently depending on their location.
  • They can charge a single price or have a tiered system.
  • They can give print subscribers free access or charge them, too.
  • No comments: