Investors Back Out Of InDenver Times After They Can Barely Get 3,000 People To Subscribe

from the people-don't-pay-for-news dept

We pointed out last week that it was no surprise that the new InDenver Times operation, that sprang forth from reporters from the defunct Rocky Mountain News, was unable to meet its target of 50,000 subscribers before launching. However, it turns out that they only got around 3,000 subscribers, or around 6% of their goal. Not surprisingly, the folks who originally wanted to finance the operation have now backed out, over disagreements over how many people to employ. As some are noting, the reporters seem to think that you can just recreate a fully staffed newsroom from scratch, rather than building it up organically like a startup. Sure, there's obviously a feeling of bringing along a team from the old Rocky, but the idea is to get it right where that paper failed as a business -- and you don't do that by setting up the same bad cost structure (or... by trying to charge for subscriptions online).


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Will, Apr 23rd, 2009 @ 7:55pm

    Re: The Art of Surprising Her

    Can you use return characters please? Or was that the � character and my computer is just being screwy?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Beck, Apr 23rd, 2009 @ 8:16pm

    Local News Source

    There is nothing wrong with charging for online subscriptions as long as you have unique content. The Wall Street Journal is a good case in point. If you want to read their unique and original content online you need to pay for a subscription, and plenty of readers do.

    People need a reliable comprehensive local news source. The problem for the Rocky Mountain News is that the Denver Post exists and delivers the same local content on their Web site for free. I think if there was no other reliable source for local news then a subscription site would work.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    John, Apr 23rd, 2009 @ 9:43pm

    If someone wants to get scoop news for their cuty they need to have someone listen to the local police scanners and have a team to send out to the scene. And that costs money. So unless you are being bankrolled it's damn near impossible.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Apr 23rd, 2009 @ 10:15pm

    Re: Local News Source

    There is nothing wrong with charging for online subscriptions as long as you have unique content.

    Not quite. There's nothing wrong with charging for online subscriptions if (a) you have unique content and (b) that content has tremendous value to people and (c) the value is more than the cost of the subscription and (d) it's difficult to get that content repurposed and provided to you through other means.

    So it's a bit difficult, actually.

    People need a reliable comprehensive local news source. The problem for the Rocky Mountain News is that the Denver Post exists and delivers the same local content on their Web site for free. I think if there was no other reliable source for local news then a subscription site would work.

    Nah. If there were no other reliable source it would be an opportunity to provide local news online for free... and make a bundle on advertising.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Apr 23rd, 2009 @ 10:16pm

    Re:

    If someone wants to get scoop news for their cuty they need to have someone listen to the local police scanners and have a team to send out to the scene. And that costs money. So unless you are being bankrolled it's damn near impossible.

    Actually, it's getting cheaper and cheaper and cheaper all the time -- especially when you build in the help of your community.

    And, yes, making money is important, but subscriptions has almost never been the way most news organizations actually made their money.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 23rd, 2009 @ 10:52pm

    Re:

    Is that "news" to you? Crime scene drama?

    There is a lot of other local news to cover. Of course, that takes money as well.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Derek, Apr 24th, 2009 @ 8:08am

    Nothing new about InDenver Times

    I live in Denver and was interested in how they were going to run this site, so I set up my RSS feed to follow them for a while.

    They were doing it wrong. I was getting 50-60 stories a day, many of which were just 'stubs' pointing to other news sources. "Something exciting happened in the middle east, go to NYTimes.com to read more" If I want NYTimes news stories, I will get it myself, I don't need this site to act as a 'Portal' of sorts.

    I was really hoping for 1-2 good LOCAL stories a day from this site, and they were trying to recreate the same failed newspaper in it's entirety.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Brad Crooks, Apr 26th, 2009 @ 11:20am

    InDenver Times

    Is there a hashtag for #TheyJustDontGetIt? Why not just shorten it to #InDenverTimes

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    David Eedle, Apr 26th, 2009 @ 6:48pm

    I think commenter Mike is close to the mark with his observation:

    "Not quite. There's nothing wrong with charging for online subscriptions if (a) you have unique content and (b) that content has tremendous value to people and (c) the value is more than the cost of the subscription and (d) it's difficult to get that content repurposed and provided to you through other means."

    We ran (and then sold) a successful subscription content site targeting the arts and entertainment sector. We had around 20-25k subscribers (meaning we did somewhat better than the Denver Times!

    Simply wacking people over the head with 50 links to dubiously relevant stories a day does not maketh a business model.

    My mantra is Context (placing individual items into an overall picture); Convenience (delivering in the format they wanted, when they wanted); Personalisation (let them filter to suit their needs).

    It led to very loyal subscribers (now heading towards 9+ years) and consequently a successful business.

    David Eedle
    http://www.NicheContentMillionaire.com

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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