by Mike Masnick
Tue, Oct 14th 2008 1:41pm
We've talked for years about the danger any media makes in focusing on setting up a paywall. In an age where openness and the ability to get others to spread and promote the content for you is often a key barometer of success, locking yourself up behind a paywall takes you out of the wider conversation, and by its very nature, decreases your overall ability to influence. The LA Times has an article noticing that this seems to be exactly what's happened with Howard Stern, who famously made the jump from terrestrial radio to satellite radio -- and in doing so, appears to have lost a large percentage of his audience, and with it much of his influence. Of course, he was paid handsomely for doing so, but Sirius almost certainly expected Stern to bring a larger percentage of his audience with him. Yet, as the article notes, Stern's waning influence due to the switch means that even he's having trouble getting the level of celebrity that he used to command to even bother coming on his show. Amusingly, the article also notes that the very reason why Stern claimed he was moving to satellite -- his troubles with the FCC -- may be contributing to his lack of influence with the new show. In the past, every time Stern got in trouble with the FCC, it boosted ratings, giving him plenty of free publicity. Without that foil, he loses much of the free publicity. Such is life behind the paywall, apparently.
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