by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
cwf+rtb, journalism, premium services

the guardian

Guardian Tries CwF+RtB, While Experimenting With Hack Day Event

from the cool-experiments dept

With our upcoming Techdirt Saves* Journalism event to be held June 16th at Google's offices, we've been looking deeper and deeper into stories of newspapers doing interesting things. The Guardian, over in the UK, has been pretty adamant that a paywall is a bad, bad idea, and has, instead, been looking into some more innovative business models. In fact, it recently announced a premium membership program that sounds quite a bit like the whole CwF+RtB formula that we've talked about for quite some time -- and which (of course) we've experimented with ourselves for a while now. Back when the NY Times was exploring options, it also had considered a similar system, but chose to go with a straight paywall instead.

The Guardian's offering is that you pay £25 per year and you get a variety of scarcities outside of the content of the paper (which remains free). Those scarcities include things like newsroom visits and events involving journalists and editors (i.e., the scarcity of "access") and other offers as well -- such as tickets to various cultural events. Unlike the various paywall efforts out there, none of this is about locking up infinitely copyable content, but about using that content to make scarcities, like access, more valuable and giving people a real reason to buy. It'll be interesting to see how well it goes. I like the basic idea of it, though I think they could do some more to segment their audiences.

That's not all The Guardian is doing. At the same time it announced this Guardian Extra program, it also held a "hack day", where the Guardian asked various media partners to ask for certain tools or features, and folks would try to create them using the Guardian's open platform. The results (for a quick two day hack event) look pretty impressive. It's pretty cool to see these sorts of experiments going on in news organizations, rather than the typical "woe is us" complaining.

If you'd like to talk about these ideas and many others (as well as hopefully come up with some new ideas for what news organizations, both new and old, can do going forward), I hope you'll consider attending our Techdirt Saves* Journalism event. Sign up for here, if you haven't already:
We look forward to seeing you there.

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Jun 2010 @ 9:38am

    Re: Re: Re:

    let add this: in your discussions, you often point out that journalists are not useful anymore, as we have citizen journalists, often doing the work for free. there is no need to pay someone to be a professional journalist if everyone around them is willing to do it for nothing, right?

    you have also discussed how "dead tree" newspapers are meaningless, and all likely to die. i can think back to discusses had around the closing of the papers in colorado and seattle, i think it was. you were pretty confident back then that all print newspapers were dinosaurs.

    the only time you changed your tune is when the *free* london paper started doing well. all of a sudden, you were a big fan of newspapers again (even as they waste a forest of dead trees a day).

    your own words is that information wants to be free, internet distribution is infinite and free, and thus, information moves to the net where it can be free.

    so which is it? are newspapers dead, or, providing they are *free* they are suddenly great ideas?

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