Nieman Foundation at Harvard
HOME
          
LATEST STORY
Newsonomics: On end games and end times
ABOUT                    SUBSCRIBE
May 20, 2014, 11:29 a.m.
Business Models
LINK: www.inma.org  ➚   |   Posted by: Joshua Benton   |   May 20, 2014

Sandy MacLeod, VP of consumer marketing and strategy at The Toronto Star, writes in a piece for INMA about where paywalls are headed. It’s unclear! But he sees the meter petering out (emphasis mine):

So has the jump to a paywall made a significant difference for newspaper companies? It sure has for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and a few others. But for the majority of North American newspaper publishers, the move to a paid digital content strategy has worked on some fronts and not so well on others. Clearly, bundling print and digital offerings together has opened a new revenue stream for many publishers. In some cases it has resulted in a nice, one-time lift in revenues…

However, the majority of the new cash generated has some link back to the print legacy business. That means the move has been a great short-term success for many, but unless the new cash is wisely used to develop new, longer-term revenue streams, the revenue bump will quickly fade. The number of digital-only subscribers generated by newspaper publishers in North America is small. In most cases, the volumes are 5% to 10% of their print circulation and a fraction of 1% of their total unique visitors. At the same time, the price charged is usually 20% to 25% of a traditional print subscription…

I believe that over the next 24 months we will see the legacy meter model (yes, legacy only after two years) fade into the background. In its place we can expect to see new alternatives emerge, such as premium sites, tablet experiments, new smartphone developments, and creative concepts that we’ve not yet even imagined. As well, we might likely see in the next year or two innovations around the idea of selling content memberships rather than newspaper subscriptions.

Show tags Show comments / Leave a comment
 
Join the 15,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
Newsonomics: On end games and end times
Can publishers find a sustainable business model this new age of Facebook/Apple/Snapchat/Twitter/Google distributed content? And is local news destined to be left behind?
What Scribd’s growing pains mean for the future of digital content subscription models
It turns out that ebook subscription models don’t work very well when people read too much. So what happens next?
How research (and PowerPoints) became the backbone of National Journal’s membership program
“We no longer look at National Journal simply as a news source, but as a collection of resources, as well as a collection of experts we can turn to on occasion.”
What to read next
2843
tweets
A blow for mobile advertising: The next version of Safari will let users block ads on iPhones and iPads
Think making money on mobile advertising is hard now? Think how much more difficult it will be with a significant share of your audience is blocking all your ads — all with a simple download from the App Store.
1763For news organizations, this was the most important set of Apple announcements in years
A new Flipboard-clone with massive potential reach, R.I.P. Newsstand, and news stories embedded deeper inside iOS — it was a big day for news on iPhones and iPads.
762Newsonomics: 10 numbers that define the news business today
From video to social, from mobile to paywalls — these data points help define where we are in the “future of news” today, like it or not.
These stories are our most popular on Twitter over the past 30 days.
See all our most recent pieces ➚
Fuego is our heat-seeking Twitter bot, tracking the links the future-of-journalism crowd is talking about most on Twitter.
Here are a few of the top links Fuego’s currently watching.   Get the full Fuego ➚
Encyclo is our encyclopedia of the future of news, chronicling the key players in journalism’s evolution.
Here are a few of the entries you’ll find in Encyclo.   Get the full Encyclo ➚
Grist
El País
National Review
The Awl
New Haven Independent
Zonie Report
Vox Media
National Journal
Next Door Media
New York
Reddit
NBC News