Another Failed Experiment In Getting People To Pay For Newspaper Content

from the and-down-it-goes dept

Old school newspaper publishers keep trying to figure out ways to lock up more content behind pay walls, resulting in experiments that simply take those newspapers out of the conversation. The simple fact is that if the content isn’t considered unique enough, then people won’t want to pay. And, unfortunately for newspapers but fortunately for readers, the ease of publishing online means that there’s more and more content out there. That means making any individual set of content unique enough to charge for is getting more difficult every day. You’re not just competing with other newspapers — but online publishers of all sorts, from the professional to the amateur. That isn’t to say that it can’t be done — but only under very special circumstances, and simply taking your regular newspaper content and putting it behind the paid wall isn’t likely to do much. That’s what the Atlanta Journal-Constitution is apparently learning, as they’ve killed their fee-based sports content section, and will instead focus on improving their free sports content to boost advertising revenue. Sports content, obviously, gets a lot of attention — but there’s so much out there, that it’s quite difficult to charge for sports content unless it’s something extra special and extra relevant to what people do. Sites have been able to make money offering things like “fantasy sports leagues,” because it gets people involved and interacting. Just taking basic news content and putting it behind a pay wall, however, just doesn’t provide enough value for the average fan who can find out most of the same info elsewhere.

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