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Nieman Journalism Lab
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New packages, new channels

“Publications will experiment more with disaggregating their content and moving away from the issue model.”

News organizations will focus on monetization of their audience through paid content and premium membership rather than advertising.

Even as online and mobile audiences continue to increase, the value of online advertising will remain stagnant, or even decline. Other organizations will see what The New York Times has done, with their newly announced digital book line, and will consider how they can thoughtfully package and sell their content to audiences in new ways and through new distribution partners or channels.

However, the type of paywalls that Gannett and others have erected (or will soon put into place) will not be recognized as successful by the end of 2013, primarily because they aren’t providing readers with content worth paying for — and at the moment, such paywalls exist only to buy time. While there is another model that shows promise — a reverse paywall, along the lines of what Matthew Ingram suggested in his piece about following the Reddit model — many news organizations will not be able to innovate in such a way, due to decreased investment and lack of patience (and lack of community-mindedness) for such a model to pay off.

Also:

  • Publications will experiment more with disaggregating their content and moving away from the issue model; they will publish and sell content across a variety of mediums/channels that may or may not be part of a formal edition.
  • More publications will follow in The Economist’s footsteps and unbundle their print and digital subscriptions, and charge the same regardless of the edition you take. It will become a given for readers that you pay the same for a subscription regardless of format, because you’re paying to get valuable content in the medium you prefer.
Jane Friedman is web editor for the Virginia Quarterly Review. Previously, she was an assistant professor of e-media at the University of Cincinnati and publisher of Writer’s Digest.