Nieman Foundation at Harvard
The News Lens in Taiwan is doing what media startups in the region hesitate to do — acquiring other sites
ABOUT                    SUBSCRIBE
Nov. 26, 2012, 11:45 a.m.
Business Models

News companies use Cyber Monday to attract subscribers, push coupons

As retailers court holiday shoppers, news companies try to get in on the action.

News companies aren’t just covering Cyber Monday this year — they’re hawking their own wares, trying to woo new subscribers with holiday discounts.

The New York Times has a half-off special that runs just over six months. It means you can get all-digital access for $110 rather than the regular $227.50 from now through mid-May. The Wall Street Journal is offering a fine deal too:

The team at Honolulu Civil Beat — which, like the Times, uses a metered paywall — is scaling its sale in smaller terms. Today only, get a 12-month subscription deal that amounts to “27 cents per day for access to Hawaii’s most informed watchdog journalism.” (Full-disclosure: I used to be a reporter for Civil Beat.) Usually the monthly subscription is $19.99; this knocks it down to $7.99 per month.

Discounted subscription offers have a long history in the news business. Most newspapers have cut back on print discounting from the churn-happy days of old. But digital subscriptions are still relatively new, which means getting exposure to new customers is key. Some paywalls limit the amount of sampling a reader gets to do before paying; letting people in at a discounted starting rate can help build a future base of full-freight customers.

Elsewhere, Cyber Monday is an opportunity to reinforce the idea that print advertising and coupons in the print newspaper are still useful. For example, The Chicago Tribune isn’t just offering 45 percent cheaper subscription rates. It’s also giving out free newspapers — yes, the physical ink-on-newsprint kind — at retail locations.

“We hope this free copy highlighting the best deals will help so you can spend more time with friends and family and less wondering where to find bargains,” Bob Fleck, the Tribune’s senior vice president of advertising, said in a statement.

POSTED     Nov. 26, 2012, 11:45 a.m.
SEE MORE ON Business Models
Join the 45,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
The News Lens in Taiwan is doing what media startups in the region hesitate to do — acquiring other sites
Within the first three months of this year, the four-year-old news company brought a tech site and a top site for sports fans under its umbrella in order to grow its overall reach: “By the end of this year, I want to have 5 or 6 different sub-brands,” News Lens co-founder Joey Chung said.
Could students’ media literacy be compared across countries, like math scores?
Plus: YouTube’s sad reliance on Wikipedia, a problem with Pinterest, and how countries around the world are fighting misinformation.
The Join the Beat project wants to tease out better ways of working with an audience directly and regularly on stories
“We want to find people who recognize the potential of the audience, and are looking to capitalize on this potential and pull together a learning group to try some things and see what emerges.”