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All together now...CHARGE!!!

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by fishwrapper, Aug 21, 2009.

  1. fishwrapper

    fishwrapper Active Member

    http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-ct-newscorp21-2009aug21,0,5961516.story

    Anyone think this has a shot of working?
    Premium content sources trying to reclaim their property after giving it away for free for 10-12 years.
     
  2. goalmouth

    goalmouth Active Member

    Not in this or any future century.
     
  3. Joe Williams

    Joe Williams Active Member

    They'll be charging soon for something that people value less than ever, because a) they have been getting it for free for so long, and b) mainstream media's credibility never has been lower, dragging down its perceived value to the user.

    This is like Krispy Kreme only deciding to charge after the fad has fizzled and the nutritionists finally are being listened to about fat, calories and sugar. Oh, and there are more places to go for donuts than ever.
     
  4. Montezuma's Revenge

    Montezuma's Revenge Active Member

    A dozen years ago or so ago, this would have worked.
     
  5. Dedo

    Dedo Member

    One of the ways they're talking about doing it is the so-called "metered approach," in which everything on the site is free, but each user only gets X number of free clicks per month. After that, you have to pay for a subscription.

    This seems to me the best formula out there, for a few reasons:

    1. It doesn't shut anybody out. If a story is linked on CNN.com, or Sportspages, or a fan message board, or Twitter, or whatever, everyone who clicks on it will be able to see it. That means page views, which is good for advertising.

    2. The web site guys don't have to decide what is "premium content" (like the NYT columnists used to be) and what is free. Everything is the same. The readers get to decide what is most valuable.

    3. The people who will be asked to pay for it are the same people who are most likely to BE WILLING to pay for it. If you're the type of person who clicks on 300 LA Times stories per month, and then the LA Times asks you for 5 or 10 bucks per month to do that (while also giving you access to unlimited stories on the dozens of other sites the Times is partnered with), you might be receptive to that. Will you be happy? No. But if the site has become part of your daily routine, part of your life, it might be difficult to give it up without at least thinking about shelling out a couple of bucks to keep using it. This is not an entirely different idea than the one drug dealers had when they started giving kids free samples.

    I am not saying this will save the industry, or that we're not all ultimately doomed, but one thing we ignore far too often is that what we offer actually does have value to some people. And those are the people we need to be focusing on, because those are the people who are most likely to pay us for it. Maybe they don't realize the value now. But if we can get our act together, they might just yet.
     
  6. Joe Williams

    Joe Williams Active Member

    There are already newspaper Web sites that break their stories needlessly into two, three or more pages -- to generate extra clicks. Once they charge per click, this already annoying practice will become heinous and generate great loathing and disdain. It won't help them hold onto traffic, either.

    Also, if I know what my clicking limit is -- just as I know what my monthly cell phone allotment is -- won't I be likely to click up to, but not over, that limit? Most people manage their cell minutes so they don't pay extra. Gotta think Internet readers would do likewise.
     
  7. Dedo

    Dedo Member

    You are right, of course. But don't we have to start charging for content eventually? The status quo ain't working. And web ad dollars alone aren't going to cut it.
     
  8. Rudy Petross

    Rudy Petross Member

    I have an old 8-track tape player and I think I am going to start charging people to listen to my Bachman Turner Overdrive collection.
     
  9. crusoes

    crusoes Active Member

    Now THAT's takin' care of business!
     
  10. tapintoamerica

    tapintoamerica Well-Known Member

    What? You don't have any Quarterflash?
     
  11. fishwrapper

    fishwrapper Active Member

    And no one has raised the big initial problem: The media companies -- a "free press" defined by writers of some important documents in the late 1700s -- would need to seek antitrust and collusion exemptions from Congress to even get this rolling.
     
  12. RedSmithClone

    RedSmithClone Active Member

    We've actually been looking into the "metered" approach at our shop. We've had company-wide staff meetings and will be looking into it further after our switch from ATS to the DTI system is completed next month.
     
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