Online Content Providers Recognize That Charging Is A Tough Business Model
from the took-'em-long-enough dept
Year after year after year, studies come out somehow claiming that the online market for content is booming. However, every year it needs to be pointed out that these studies are misleading at best -- as they miscount "services" such as dating sites as if they were the same thing as an online newspaper subscription. For a while, this was encouraging online publication to experiment with subscription models, even as it was becoming increasingly obvious that it was a very difficult competitive market unless you had something to really differentiate yourself. So, it's good to see a new study coming out of the UK that disproves the idea that more publications are charging for content. By breaking out just media sites, the study found that the number of publications that charge for content has dropped nearly in half over the past year. Instead, many of these publications are finding good results from advertising. The firms that are charging claim they're making money from it -- but often you have to weigh those claims against both the opportunity costs from fewer impressions to sell to advertisers and the future potential for lower readership as readers gravitate to free sources. This isn't to say that money can't be made in charging for content -- but that it becomes quite difficult in a competitive market (as the straight news market often is).