Just Another Brick in the Paywall – May 20, 2011

This week in potential new daily newspaper paywalls – it sounds like while it wouldn’t happen anytime in the near term, in the longer term (ie – the next five years), the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel could join the paid ranks… [The [Milwaukee] Business Journal]

This wouldn’t be the first time that someone has said the NY Times’ paywall “isn’t working,” nor would it be the first time that person was Arianna Huffington. Nevertheless, the blog queen reiterated her views this past Monday that at least partially due to the way it functions, the Times’ paywall in fact is failing… [Adweek]

But on the other side of the coin, Times CEO Janet Robinson has been “very encouraged” by the paper’s paywalled performance…as if we’d expect her to say she’s discouraged…? [Forbes]

As for another Times across the pond, the UK Times is apparently going around its paywall in releasing its list of the “most influential people in social media,” and will apparently be putting said content on a separate website from its daily headlines altogether… [MarketingWeek]

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Just Another Brick in the Paywall – May 12, 2011

You may remember that months back, the entertainment industry trade publication Variety put its content behind a paywall. Well, fortunately for those interested in Variety’s Cannes Film Festival coverage, the publication has decided to make that coverage free to all, placing it outside its paywall… [Media Bistro]

Again, it should come as no shock when I tell you that traffic to the New York Times’ website (in terms of its share of readership among newspapers) was down the most it has ever been after April, the first full month during which its paywall was in place… [paidcontent.org]

It’s not uncommon to hear that many people are not yet ready to give up printed publications in favor of digital versions. I know even myself, I have yet to do so (mostly because I’m not fortunate enough to own an iPad or any other digital apparatus through which to read said publications). But, apparently the New Yorker’s iPad app may be the beginning of the end for print… [Crunch Gear]

In case you’re wondering where Steve Forbes falls on the paywall vs. ad model debate, it sounds like he’s firmly on the side of ads driving revenue, as he was quoted saying, “Even if you have a successful paywall, the revenue you get will not come close to matching what you’re going to get on the advertising side”… [paidcontent.org]

So, apparently Time Inc.’s Sports Illustrated, Fortune and Time, which we mentioned had just arrived in digital tablet form last week, are only for existing print subscribers, due to Apple’s persistence on taking a 30% cut of all (digital only) subscriptions achieved through publications’ apps… [paidcontent.org]

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Just Another Brick in the Paywall – May 5, 2011

The UK’s Telegraph newspaper just released the second version of its iPad app today, with this updated version requiring users to subscribe in order to read the content contained within (its predecessor had been free). Subscriptions run £1.19 each or £9.99 per month, which means that a digital iPad edition actually costs more than its print counterpart (which runs £1 flat), though print subscribers can get access to the iPad edition for free… [paidcontent.org]

But the Telegraph isn’t the only publication to go iPad with digital subscriptions through Apple. Back here in the states, Hearst just announced that it will release iPad editions of three of its titles – Esquire, Popular Mechanics, and O – this coming July, with subscriptions going for $1.99 a month or $19.99 a year… [WSJ]

So, apparently while print subscriptions have declined for the recently paywalled New York Times and the long-paywalled Wall Street Journal, circulation was actually up overall for the Journal, but the Times…not so much… [AdAge]

While we’re on the subject of losses – apparently News Corp., while gaining 800,000 downloads (it still will not disclose actual subscribers numbers) of its exclusively iPad publication, The Daily, also lost about $10 million on the publication in the first quarter…but obviously you’ve gotta spend money to make it, so not sure what to make of this at this point… [Business Insider]

Finally, as we well know, The Daily isn’t the only publication with a “paywall” to avoid speaking about subscriber numbers. The Times itself has refused (and probably rightfully so given the short time its paywall has been in place) to divulge the aforementioned numbers. But what it has said is that the 300,000 subs estimate is “inaccurate”… [paidcontent.org]

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Just Another Brick in the Paywall – April 27, 2011

Another week, another way around the New York Times’ paywall – this one is for Safari 5 users…apparently if you click on a story you want to read on the Times’ site, once you’re met with the message that you need to subscribe in order to read it, just hit the Reader button (purple in the screenshot above) in your browser’s address bar and you should be able to access it for free… [Cult of Mac]

Bad news for McClatchy newspapers, and potentially bad news for readers of said newspapers – apparently during an earnings call the other day, McClatchy CEO Gary Pruitt mentioned plans to implement paywalls for some of the company’s largest newspapers, despite advocating for the ad supported digital model not too long ago…so keep one eye peeled for that (those) coming down the pike… [paidcontent.org]

Finally, obviously there’s a stark contrast between getting people to pay for something offline vs. getting them to pay for something online, primarily due to the ease with which users can access (and even secure) content digitally for free. So, the question is – given this innate challenge, how do you get people to pay for something online? [Guardian]

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Just Another Brick in the Paywall – April 21, 2011

Since the NY Times went paid not long ago, everyone has been watching and waiting with baited breath to see how the new paywall affected digital readership. Well, recently we saw an estimate that both traffic and users are down, which is to be expected, but apparently, the Times has actually managed to convert more than 100,000 readers in about three weeks to paid digital subscribers… [Mashable]

But for those of you who still don’t feel like you want to cough up your hard-earned cash for a digital subscription to the Times, and have exhausted your 20 articles per month for free limit, maybe News.me is the solution for you, since it’s apparently the latest platform that facilitates reading the Times’ content without having to subscribe. However, it does so by pulling links to Times and other publications articles from your Twitter feed, so you can’t get everything for free, and honestly, you could just scan your Twitter feed and avoid even paying the $0.99 for News.me itself… [Business Insider]

Elsewhere in the land of paid apps – the UK’s Mail Newspapers has just released its first iPad app, branded Mail Online, just like its website. Subscriptions will cost users from £2.39 for a week’s access, to £19.99 for a year, and the content basically mirrors what Mail Online is on the web… [paidcontent.org]

Finally, in what has to be the least expected publication to put up a paywall, apparently the Vatican’s 150-year-old newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano is finally launching a digital presence, which will be free until September 1, when readers will then have to pay for a subscription to consume the full suite of content it will provide (although the price will be “very low”)… [Guardian]

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Just Another Brick in the Paywall – April 18, 2011

As I’m sure we’ve mentioned numerous times, the Financial Times has long been one of the web’s most notorious paywalled news organizations. After seeing a 71% year-over-year increase in digital subscribers last year, 2011 seems to be off with a bang, and the daily has apparently already seen almost a 10% increase in subscribers so far this year… [paidcontent.org]

And here’s a strategy that I’m pretty sure is a novel way to monetize content – strength in numbers. Apparently a group of nine Slovak “major news organizations” across TV and editorial, have banded together to put their content behind a paywall. As has become a norm for pubs erecting paywalls, content will be free for the first two weeks, but after the paywall goes up, flat rate subscriptions will set users back “€0.99 ($1.41/£0.87) per week or €2.90 ($4.14/£2.54) per month”… [Editorsweblog.org]

We’ve heard many opinions on why the New York Times (and others’) paywall will “fail,” but here’s one opinion stating that it actually had to put up the paywall in order to survive in the new media economy… [AdWeek]

Finally, that sentiment was actually echo’d by the publisher of one of the largest dailies besides the Times to put a paywall around its content – the Dallas Morning News… [Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas]

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Just Another Brick in the Paywall – April 13, 2011

One somewhat overlooked aspect of the paywall debate is the effect of social media on paywalled news sites. Since so many people now discover new content through their social graphs, if a publication puts up a paywall that is impenetrable by users coming in through social outlets (including blogs), it’s likely to frustrate those users, so keeping social in mind should be a consideration for any news site looking to institute a paywall (as the Times did when it was planning its recently institued paywall)… [Mashable]

This may be a cultural thing, but up to our North in Canada, a new study from the University of British Columbia’s journalism school revealed that 9 out of 10 Canadians would go find free news content elsewhere if their favorite news destination started to charge for content. Of course, saying they would and actually doing it are two different animals, but that’s neither here nor there, I suppose… [Vancouver Sun]

Elsewhere abroad – there was a chance the UK government would stop UK libraries from indexing content from paywalled publications (or those that asked users to register for access) for their archives. But it appears that won’t happen, and the libraries will move ahead as originally planned… [paidcontent.org]

Just Another Brick in the Paywall – April 12, 2011

In an attempt to “monetize” its content (albeit in an interesting manner) for a targeted purpose, this week the New Yorker chose one “long form” piece of content to put behind a “like gate,” which just means that users have to like the New Yorker’s Facebook page in order to read the piece on the page’s “Fans Only” tab… [Poynter]

But speaking of monetizing content, Bloomberg just released its official iPad app for BusinessWeek, which offers users a more immersive digital experience, allowing them to engage with content in different and uniquely digital ways (similar to The Daily). With the new app, subscriptions will run for $2.99 per four issues, and of course, they will be free to print subscribers… [Mashable]

And now that BusinessWeek has become one of the first publications to offer iPad subscriptions, the question is will others follow and will Apple’s iTunes subscription model overcome the initial backlash from publishers? [TechCrunch]

Finally, according to the research company Hitwise, the New York Times has seen visits decline 5 to 15% since the onset of its paywall, and page views decline up to 30%. Of course, I’m pretty sure it’s unrealistic to expect traffic NOT to decline immediately after a publication asks users to pay for content they were previously getting for free, even if the paywall is as soft as the Times’…and as this piece points out – is that even really a bad thing? [VentureBeat]

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Just Another Brick in the Paywall – April 8, 2011

So, I was actually fortunate enough to have heard this straight from the horse…er, publisher’s mouth at AdAge’s Digital Conference this week, but The Daily’s Greg Clayman politely declined several opportunities to disclose The Daily’s subscriber numbers to date, simply saying that he (and his crew) were happy with where they currently are on that front. Of course, he did say that not everyone who had downloaded the digital newspaper app converted to a paying customer when the site went paid not long ago, but clearly that’s nothing mind-blowing… [paidcontent.org]

At the same time, that hasn’t stopped some from attempting to do their own sleuthing to pontificate about what The Daily’s readership might look like based on how many tweets have been generated from inside the app in the last couple of weeks vs. when The Daily was all free to everyone… [Nieman Journalism Lab]

And now, back to the paywalled publication du jour (or I guess however you say month in French), the New York Times. Like we’ve mentioned in the past, there are plenty of individuals on both sides of the will it/won’t it succeed debate…here’s another vote for yes from Scout Analytics’ (a “firm that specializes in helping Web publishers maximize revenue per user”) analyst Scott Shanahan… [AdWeek]

Elsewhere in Times land, apparently the publication also recently started offering subscriptions at a 50% off rate for the next half a year…so, if you’re going to subscribe, now may be the best time… [Folio]

And since the Times is doing so, I certainly hope for its sake that it’s being truthful in claiming that a Bloomberg article from January reporting it cost $40 million for the Times to build its paywall is “not accurate”… [paidcontent.org]

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Just Another Brick in the Paywall – April 5, 2011

We’ve mentioned how publishers were not pleased with the dynamics of Apple’s subscription billing model, and particularly the 30% cut they take, but one issue we hadn’t mentioned was around subscriber data. As pointed out by the Financial Times (at least for my purposes), that subscriber data is vital to its own business model, and the fact that Apple won’t share data on users who subscribe via iTunes is well, kind of a big deal… [Mashable]

And back on the New York Times paywall beat – yesterday we highlighted how Amazon Kindle owners who subscribed to the Times via their Kindles could get access to NYTimes.com for free. Well, apparently the same goes for Barnes & Noble Nook owners who subscribe to the Times (for $19.99 a month) via their Nooks … [TechCrunch]