Monday, March 5, 2012

What about online newspapers?

Today we talked about some strategies for reaping revenue with online content production — the Google AdWords/AdSense combination, the AOL Way, the Amazon "long tail," and the Angie's List crowdsourcing + subscription model — but we left out a big category of online content production, that of newspapers, magazines, and other news/information outlets.  Today an article in the Wall Street Journal discusses the option of creating "paywalls" for encouraging internet visitors to subscribe for their digital web-surfing:
As more newspapers close the door on free access to their websites, some publishers are still waiting for paying customers to pour in.
The numbers of readers signing up so far suggest that at many papers, "paywalls" aren't about to reverse publishers' deteriorating finances. Yet the results aren't discouraging industry executives, who say their efforts are succeeding in shoring up the core print business after years of declines.
This is a serious challenge for most online news sources that used to be print-based, as the article describes:
Over the past decade or so, with newspapers' content available free online, their finances have been devastated. Newspapers saw weekday circulation drop by nearly 10 million from 1999 to 2009, about 17% of the total, according to the Editor & Publisher International Yearbook. Print advertising revenue was cut almost in half in that period, according to the Newspaper Association of America.
Check out the rest of the article for more.  Under what circumstances would you be willing to pay for online news and information?


  1. I think the definite problem with trying to get people for pay for online news and information is that that same information is available in so many outlets for free. To be honest, I think the only time that i would be willing to pay for online news would be if it was my only option; and I just do not foresee that happening.

  2. Sierra Buehlman BarbeauMarch 6, 2012 at 3:48 PM

    I think that it's weird that we have to pay for newspapers and not online news-- people are willing to pay for that, but it seems wrong to make people pay for online news. Then again, the news on TV is free. I don't think that people will pay for news, but I wouldn't be surprised if someone tried to charge.

  3. I am simply not willing to pay for online newspaper. It seems so irrational, even to me, though because we pay for newspaper subscriptions to come to our doorstep. My generation just associates the world "online" with the word "free." It is as if they are synonyms sometimes. News online is different than news on television because someone is writing it. Television news gets paid a lot more for advertisements than newspapers do. The person who wrote the article for the New York Times should technically be paid good money. I cannot imagine a world where all online news must be paid for. Sure, maybe the big newspapers could get away with that, but that does not stop someone taking that article and writing their own version of it on their free news blog. Maybe blogs will become more popular if that happens. Who knows, I am rambling now.

  4. I'd agree with the previous comments in saying that I would not pay for online news. I, however, definitely feel some sadness in the increase of online news and the decrease of print journalism. Of course (or at least we were told in J201) that Print Journalism was not going anywhere soon, it is sad to see the huge decline in print journalism. Still to this day, my dad buys three different newspapers daily and reads them all, front to back. This is something that I have longed to do since being in college but to my realization ,it is just not as easy as it seems. With our busy lives, we are much more apt to log online and get the news briefs provided.

  5. I completely agree with Dani. I think ever since newspapers turned to an online format, their future began deteriorating. It is irrational to think that someone would pay for an online subscription to a newspaper, when they can look up the same information elsewhere online, and for free! I think that whenever people surfing the web see a page that they have to pay money for, it is evident that they are going to hit the back arrow and look for another resource. Like Dani said, "online" is associated with "free". I would never pay for a piece of information from a newspaper unless I was not able to find it somewhere else.

  6. It is interesting that we are more likely to pay for a physical newspaper than an online paper because online newspapers arguably have more to offer. Along with the exact same writing, online newspapers can incorporate videos, more vivid pictures and interactive exercises. It will be interesting to see if my generation, who refuses to pay for much of anything online, yet does not read physical copies of newspapers as much as older ones, will become physical newspaper readers when we get older. Maybe we will put our money towards online subscriptions. Only time will tell

  7. Everyone is saying the same thing and I agree. Paying for online newspapers just doesn't seem plausible, especially at a local level. It will be interesting to see if they find a way to work it out in the business of newspapers.

    -Joe Weiss

  8. Like everyone else, I agree as well. As soon as a site asks me to enter credit card information, I click the return button and continue looking for on a different site. I prefer to read online articles because they are easier to access and easier on the eyes. I don't have to physically go out and buy a paper anymore unless for some reason I want a hard copy. I would prefer to skim over sites online to get my daily news for free.

  9. While I agree that most online content is not worth paying for, I disagree in a few cases. I pay for an online subscription to the New York Times, because it's my favorite newspaper and, in my opinion, worth a few dollars. I think the paper subscription is too expensive, so I'd rather pay a little bit for the online edition. It's just so much better than getting the news from a quick google search. That being said, I'm really into the news and it's a big priority for me, so it makes sense that I'd be more willing to pay for it.


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