A Newspaper Guy Who Understands The Web

from the comparing-the-right-things dept

The trend is clear. Many newspaper websites are starting to charge, because they’re too lazy to come up with a business model that actually embraces the fact that being online is different than being in print. However, it appears that there are still a few newspaper web people who understand the difference, and see why automatically blocking off content is not the best way to build a business. Editor & Publisher has an interesting interview with the web director of a group of local newspapers that is actually owned by Dow Jones. Considering their success in charging for the Wall Street Journal, you might think he’d be pushing to charge. Not so. He says: “I find it amazing that some newspapers are foregoing the growth opportunities all together and moving into a lock-down mode where only their newspaper’s subscribers or online-only subscribers can get access to their site.” Elsewhere in the interview he points out that, “the Internet is different than the newspaper… and we need to adjust our business models to go after new business instead of relying on our existing client base.” Hopefully more decision makers at newspapers will realize this, but in the meantime, they’re going to keep making the mistake of charging, believing that bringing in some direct subscription revenues makes more sense. The problem with this theory is that it cuts off the vast majority of your potential audience – and severely cuts into your potential to make money. Unfortunately, too many decision makers make the simple calculation of “no money from subscribers is worse than some money from subscribers.”

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