Nieman Foundation at Harvard
What publishers around the world learned by sharing their climate change coverage with each other
ABOUT                    SUBSCRIBE
May 20, 2014, 11:29 a.m.
Business Models
LINK:  ➚   |   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.
What publishers around the world learned by sharing their climate change coverage with each other
For the better part of this year, news organizations in the Climate Publishers Network have been republishing each other’s climate change stories in order to expand their coverage of the issue.
Hot Pod: Is “Why doesn’t audio go viral?” the wrong question to ask?
“What Rolltape represents to me is an attempt to carve out a whole new digital space that requests a completely different kind of social interaction: sincerely, thoughtfully, slowly.”
“Why not be all the way in?” How publishers are using Facebook Instant Articles
“If we end up making more money as a publisher, that’s fantastic. I don’t think that’s going to be an afterthought or byproduct; I think there is a way to win from the business perspective.”
What to read next
How one blog helped spark The New York Times’ digital evolution
“I certainly had editors tell me that I shouldn’t be wasting my time on Bird Week. But that was the best part of City Room…We were like unsupervised children.”
572News outlets left and right (and up, down, and center) are embracing virtual reality technology
Among those experimenting is The Wall Street Journal, which plans to open source its 360-degree mobile video and VR technology and hopes to turn VR into more of a mainstay of its storytelling.
502Podcasting in 2015 feels a lot like blogging circa 2004: exciting, evolving, and trouble for incumbents
The same trends we saw a decade ago — professionalization on one hand, platformization on the other — sure seem to be playing out again.
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 ➚
Chi-Town Daily News
The Blaze
Seattle PostGlobe
USA Today
Los Angeles Times
Ars Technica