Comments on: Paywalls rise http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2013/03/27/paywalls-rise/ A slice of lime in the soda Sun, 26 Oct 2014 19:05:02 +0000 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.5 By: CaptnCrunch http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2013/03/27/paywalls-rise/comment-page-1/#comment-46474 Sun, 31 Mar 2013 12:35:02 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/?p=21062#comment-46474 The internet is the world’s library, and soon every word ever written and every image ever captured will be within a few keystrokes of everyone’s grasp.

Businesses that wish to build pay to watch peepshows in the dark corners and little used hallways of this library are welcome to try, but I’ll wager a thousand to one on those that will vote against that plan with a simple click of the back button.

Don’t go behind a paywall Felix, or if you do we’ll miss you.

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By: Sanity-Monger http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2013/03/27/paywalls-rise/comment-page-1/#comment-46461 Fri, 29 Mar 2013 18:46:33 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/?p=21062#comment-46461 Interesting that the discussion is around access and not quality. If people can’t make a good living investigating and reporting what’s going on, and if we don’t have media companies willing to publish their findings, then we are in trouble. No number of “free” sites can dig up what’s really going on (they can of course copy, aggregate, and otherwise grab what’s come out of other sources, parrot and comment endlessly on official news releases, but this is not journalism). Mind you, today’s news sites, even those behind pay walls, are hardly practicing journalism either, but fundamentally, being able to make a living at finding out what’s going on is as critical to a healthy society as having the right and the means to publish what you find.

So I’m all for reasonable pay walls if it can help restore a healthy, skeptical media. But I am in agreement with Luis_Enrique — a Netflix for news would be great, and I’m not likely to pay even a couple of bucks for any one source.

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By: AZreb http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2013/03/27/paywalls-rise/comment-page-1/#comment-46459 Fri, 29 Mar 2013 13:19:55 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/?p=21062#comment-46459 Pay to read media that almost always has its own agenda and ideology – politics, in particular? I don’t think so. Not while there are websites out there that do NOT brainwash the readers.

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By: mfw13 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2013/03/27/paywalls-rise/comment-page-1/#comment-46451 Thu, 28 Mar 2013 16:33:31 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/?p=21062#comment-46451 Bluepanther is on the right track….most publications do not produce content good enough to be worth paying for. Probably the only two sites in the world which I would pay to access are the NY Times and Andrew Sullivan.

Every time a second tier publication announces that it is erecting a paywall, it gets laughed out of the building. I’m writing from Seattle, where the Times recently announced that they would be erecting a paywall, and the comments were overwhelmingly dismissive. Same thing in San Francisco (my hometown paper) when the Chronicle announced their paywall.

Bottom line…if you want people to pay for your product, you better have a damn good product…because there is a lot of very good, free, content out there competing with you.

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By: realist50 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2013/03/27/paywalls-rise/comment-page-1/#comment-46450 Thu, 28 Mar 2013 16:28:35 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/?p=21062#comment-46450 @bluepanther – I generally agree with your point, but with a notable caveat for certain local news. For example, if I want to read about local city government, my options are relatively limited, and some number of people are willing to pay for that news. Similar point for coverage of various local issues and high school sports. (Some people will pay for in-depth coverage of local professional sports teams, though in that case national outlets such as ESPN present more competition.)

Where I do agree, though, is that not many people will pay to read 2nd or 3rd tier papers covering national issues. As a result, I think a lot of that original reporting will disappear and be replaced by licensed content from wire services or the big brand publications.

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By: MCasSelle http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2013/03/27/paywalls-rise/comment-page-1/#comment-46446 Thu, 28 Mar 2013 16:09:22 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/?p=21062#comment-46446 Good to read your thoughts on this, Felix. We’re definitely observing a big trend to create the “premium web,” where those who pay get higher quality. iTunes and the iOS app store have already conditioned millions to understand that if you pay just a little bit, you get a superior entertainment experience. Hundreds of newspapers have already adopted this idea because of the financial reality facing them.

Not all of us have accepted the paywall trend yet, but it certainly seems inevitable – as you pointed out, online ads can’t sustain enough revenue. 90% of ad revenue is consolidated in the top 50 publishers and cost-per-click ad rates per page have been going down every day for the past 3 years, according to Google’s public filings. No content publisher depending on website revenue can stay in business without a premium offering.

You’re also right that the NYT is habituating people to the idea of paying for content. This follows my favorite “transition to premium” analogy, the Starbucks example, in which the cost per ounce of coffee at Starbucks is 2 to 5 times that of a typical fresh cup of coffee at a fast food chain or convenience store. Over time, most people accept this cost per ounce, because they appreciate higher quality, service, and consistency. The cheaper offerings that once scoffed at the high prices are now unsuccessfully left to compete with the new standard for “premium coffee” that dominates the market.

Though we may not be able to work out “empirically” what the optimum price or model is across the board, I DO believe testing is possible and effective for individual publishers. No paywall is ever “done,” and to achieve outstanding results, publishers should test many options to maximize their revenue. User tastes differ from site to site, and also change over time. Testing is the only strategy for paywall success, as content models are also evolving as methods of monetization that shift beneath publishers’ feet. Metro newspapers must test, try, and adapt cost structures to take advantage of new digital content creation (e.g. video blogging, shorter articles from more contributors, comments rapidly affecting the article content) and methods to consume them (mobile, tablet, RSS feeds, etc.).

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By: subsiteinsider http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2013/03/27/paywalls-rise/comment-page-1/#comment-46445 Thu, 28 Mar 2013 15:48:52 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/?p=21062#comment-46445 While I don’t know about any management consultancy, Subscription Site Central has a wealth of resources for sites looking to initiate and optimize paywalls — from pricing to marketing to design. I strongly urge any news sites interested in getting the most from their metered paywalls to check us out.

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By: bluepanther http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2013/03/27/paywalls-rise/comment-page-1/#comment-46442 Thu, 28 Mar 2013 07:12:43 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/?p=21062#comment-46442 Certain GLOBAL brand newspapers will be able to charge–the FT, the NYT, the WSJ. Forget about second and third tier publications, and here I would include the Wash Post, the LA Times, or the SF Chronicle. They can’t compete with the seasoned global giants, and their specialized sector or local coverage (politics or Hollywood, for example) has been undercut by scrappy hyper-specialized or hyper-localized websites that out report them. And even the NYT is starting to look a bit wobbly in some areas once you compare their coverage to elite British competitors. And the competitive advantage of ALL American newspapers further fades if you are privileged to be able to read other languages and access the best publications from abroad. And the NYT or other U.S. papers can’t get away with what it did often pre-internet when it would selectively refer to certain overseas papers that covered topics in the same manner, implying they were all “on the same page” and this was the received wisdom. Easy consumer access to the global news put an end to all that. Let a million opinions bloom!

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By: lauradeen http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2013/03/27/paywalls-rise/comment-page-1/#comment-46438 Wed, 27 Mar 2013 21:46:50 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/?p=21062#comment-46438 I want what @Luis_Enrique wants.

I have no objection in principle to subscribing to multiple sites which I want to visit for news, but in practice, every site has their own little quirks and problems, which means that if I actually did subscribe to each, I would spend time each month dealing with their support teams as to why I can’t log in or why I can’t read particular stories or why I can’t comment.

I am never, ever going to waste my time doing that.

I want one site that I pay, and that site then works with ferocity to beat down all the technical problems that may occur with my access to the 20-25 actual content sites that I visit daily.

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By: bjacobs103 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2013/03/27/paywalls-rise/comment-page-1/#comment-46437 Wed, 27 Mar 2013 21:16:15 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/?p=21062#comment-46437 I wonder if the timing has any relationship with the demise of Google Reader. I was a former NY Times subscriber and found I no longer needed the site as my eclectic assortment of RSS feeds filled it’s place in aggregate. Depending on how well another RSS reader fills the voide / if RSS is even supported to the extent it needs to be, I may have to revert back.

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