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Idea for a new paywall model?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by MNgremlin, Sep 28, 2015.

  1. MNgremlin

    MNgremlin Active Member

    This is something that has stumped me for awhile. I understand the need for papers to get revenue when people read their stuff, but I also realize what a pain it is when you only want to read one story online but the only option is a 1-month subscription.

    So what's the solution?

    My idea is to try an a la carte model. Much like how they are trying it in television with services like Sling, you would do the same for the news. Set a price for just the entire sports section, or you could even narrow it even further (local sports or a specific school/program). Why should I pay to have access to the entire website when I'll only need one section?
  2. Paynendearse

    Paynendearse Member

    I have said they should sell specific news packages. Like in a local-local sports market, sell a high school football season pass. Access only to high school football stories. Cop news, same thing. Major college coverage, pro team coverage, or even columnist coverage.....piece meal it.
  3. Riptide

    Riptide Well-Known Member

    It wouldn't be hard at all to have tiered price structures. I've said that for years. And you could customize them to fit anyone's habits. Even down to one story at a time for a dime or a quarter or whatever. Or 10 stories a week. Or 20.

    There are plenty of options open to imagination and innovation. But most papers haven't gone that route yet.

    Will they?
  4. JohnHammond

    JohnHammond Well-Known Member

    Most small papers won't pay for a decent website.

    Larger markets have competitors who don't have to worry that posting free content will hurt their business model

    (BTW: Sling is not a-la-carte. It's a slimmed-down bundle, with much of the subscription fees going to Disney.)
  5. Riptide

    Riptide Well-Known Member

    At some point you have to try, though.
    Nobody will like it at first. Then you build your audience.
  6. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday Well-Known Member

    I think it's a great idea. Of course, that means they'll never do it. But, shit, it's definitely worth a shot. Even at a dime or quarter a story, it's a way to attract new revenue and readers.
  7. MNgremlin

    MNgremlin Active Member

    A thought to go along with it would be a prepaid service. If you know you're going to read multiple articles over time, but don't know how often, put in lets say $20 a time, and every article deducts from that money. That way you don't end up with 5 to 10 separate deductions from your bank account at $0.50 each at the end of the month. It also keeps readers coming back to your site because they want to get their full money's worth.
  8. JRoyal

    JRoyal Well-Known Member

  9. JRoyal

    JRoyal Well-Known Member

    And your initial idea is flawed. Why? Because Sling doesn't offer things like you say. You have to have a base subscription, then you can add to that. There is no saying, "I just want Sports, but I don't need Bloomberg and ABC Family."
  10. JayFarrar

    JayFarrar Well-Known Member

  11. MNgremlin

    MNgremlin Active Member

    My idea is flawed or my comparison is flawed? Just because I made a bad comparison between my idea and Sling (which I'll admit as a man), shouldn't make the concept of my idea flawed.
  12. FileNotFound

    FileNotFound Well-Known Member

    The idea of premium content is not at all a flawed idea, and I like MNgremlin's idea of letting people pay up front and then top up as credits get used. Also, segmenting content as MNgremlin proposes has its merits -- as a Cardinals fan, for instance, I might very well pay for access to the Post-Dispatch's premium sports content, so that I can get to that quickly (or, better, have it delivered to me, via email or push notifications.)

    The only real problem with it is that premium content -- the kind you can get no other place -- is expensive to produce and even more expensive to maintain, and most newspaper companies won't/can't invest in the model and wait for it to start bearing fruit.

    In sports, particularly, it's a challenge to generate revenue for something ESPN is already providing for free. This is a tough battle to fight, because ESPN is a double-dipping money machine (subscriber fees and television advertising.) It can lose money on its web offerings for the next 200 years as long as the cable TV business model holds together.
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