- Getting the price for online subscriptions will be important. After all, Newsday.com spent millions to redesign its site to put a pay-wall so it could charge readers $5.00 per week for access. In three months, Newsday.com generated only 35 subscribers. In contrast, the Wall St. Journal charges less than $100 for online access, with a discount for print subscribers.
- Publishers will consider a number of different plans, ranging from a pay-wall which enables only paid subscribers to access content; a metered system that allows readers to sample a few articles before being asked to subscribe; premium access, in which many articles are free but more important ones are available only to paid subscribers; and a membership model like public radio.
- One problem will be that, despite new subscription platforms from a variety of companies, from startups like Journalism Online (run by Steven Brill) to potential solutions from News Corp., Google, Microsoft and IBM. The challenge: if some publications don't charge, people will gravitate to those free services.
- Online-only news outlets won't be immune to layoffs. They will find out cutting out printing and distribution costs isn't enough to be self-sustaining because they've given up a number of substantial revenue streams, too.
- Online subscriptions won't limited to online news content. Twitter will unveil a business model that will likely be focused on charging fees to businesses that use Twitter. Rupert Murdoch, who is an ardent advocate of charging for online content, and owns a percentage of Hulu.com, will push Hulu.com to offer its video library on a per-viewing and on an unlimited basis. The same goes for some streaming music sites that currently are available for free.
- Apple's iPad may make it easier for print newspapers to charge subscription fees for online access. A lot of print media are designing new layouts to take advantage of future tablet offerings.
Insights and attitude about PR, journalism and traditional and social media.
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Prediction #3: 2010 will be the year of online subscriptions
2010 will be the year of online subscriptions as publishers of all kinds are finding out that advertising-only-supported sites are not self-sustaining. Charging user fees will allow these sites to survive. The implications include:
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