Another Example Of Paid Content Not Working

from the this-isn't-rocket-science dept

We’ve said plenty of times before that newspapers hoping to charge subscription fees to access their content online are going to have difficulty doing so – especially when there’s nothing particularly unique about the content compared to the thousands of other (free) news sites out there. Now, Digital Deliverance points out that a couple of newspapers that went with a paid model for their online content are trying to scale it back and put up more content for free. Even more interesting, though is the story behind, the website of the Irish Times, which switched to paid access last year. A tiny percentage of their users signed up to pay a yearly subscription fee, but their page views dropped drastically, killing any hope for any serious ad revenue. More importantly, though, they absolutely decimated their audience. When you’ve done enough to find an audience, a good marketer figures out how to leverage that audience to make money – not to scare them all away by suddenly instituting a fee and hoping you catch a few suckers. There are things you can charge for online, but generally they’re services that engage people – not general news content. Leveraging content to bring people back to sign up for a service makes sense. Locking up all that content does not.

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