Paid content / Pay wall models

To charge, or not to charge, for online content? That is the question all publishers face regarding their most precious asset: their content. Should you have a pay wall? Which models lend themselves more to paid content? Are micropayments the answer? How else can you leverage your assets into revenue opportunities? These topics and more are explored in the articles and videos below. 

FEATURED STORIES

Finding a paid content model that's right for you
There's no shortage of chatter about media companies' march toward paid content models. But how do you figure out if there's a model that's right for your audience, and your business? We offer some much-needed guidance.

Advice for NAA and MPA: monetize Microsoft/Yahoo deal
What if the Newspaper Association of America and the Magazine Publishers of America formed a consortium and entered into an exclusive licensing arrangement with Microsoft to provide access to full-text articles through Bing, and only Bing? The result would be a big win for Microsoft in its pitched battle against Google, and a much-needed revenue boost for media companies.

Turning data into revenue
Marc Minardo discusses how Crain's New York Business developed its lists and rankings offerings into a paid content business and how the revenues have grown to become as much as 10 percent of their online business.

New life – and revenue opportunities – for digital magazines
The rapid erosion of print circulation, combined with the increasing popularity of electronic readers and the cultural embrace of green-friendly solutions, are convincing many magazine publishers to re-think their approach to digital publications as a potential revenue driver.

A radical idea: charge the writer, NOT the reader
Uninspired subscription models are not the answer for The New York Times and other major dailies. The Times should establish a model that creates a business relationship with content producers, in which writers pay into a system that gives them opportunity, visibility – and a share of revenues.

Readers dig deep to save indy magazine
In a last-ditch effort to survive in the face of declining ad revenues, indy magazine Paste went straight to its readers for help, asking them to donate some cash to help the magazine stay afloat. In little over a month, 9,000 readers had forked over more than $240,000.

Easy revenue idea: on-demand print delivery
The Economist has launched an on-demand single-copy sales program, called Economist Direct, which allows readers to order current issues online and have them delivered the next day. File this one under “what took them so long?”

We've compiled a list of sites exploring different revenue models for e-media companies.

 

ADDITIONAL WEB RESOURCES

The paper that doesn't want to be free
The Financial Times began charging readers for access to its website in 2002. Now, with few signs that advertising is rebounding from a deep slump, and with other publishers moving to imitate FT.com by erecting pay walls, the paper's CEO feels vindicated.

Open for business: The case for a free/paid hybrid
If you were going to charge, what, precisely, would you sell? And if you sold something new, would that alter, or even revolutionize, the nature of the news?

Pitfalls of the pay wall
Before charging for content, news organizations must bypass the "quality journalism" argument and answer five key questions.

Beyond the pay wall: Can news organizations charge for services?
A short primer on six pay wall structures, including two-tiered models, metering and membership.

A case against pay walls
The consumer psychology of web subscriptions for news just doesn’t work out. A dollar for a newspaper or a few bucks for a glossy magazine may feel like a fair price. But what feels like a fair price for a copy of a web page? Nothing – it's just ones and zeroes.

In this series of articles, the Newspaper Association of America takes a look at the debate and analyzes the results of newspapers’ paid and free online models.

Paid content and blog sponsorships generate highest e-profits
Blog sponsorships and paid content are the most profitable e-media revenue streams, with more than 50 percent of respondents to a Folio survey saying they see a profit margin of more than 30 percent from these two areas. However, just 8 percent of publishers sell sponsorships against blogs and only 28 percent offer paid content – another indicator of the sharp debate over paid content models.

Web futures: Monetize, monetize, monetize
The approaches by Apple and Amazon to making the digital future financially viable represents as much of a psychological break with rampant free content practices as a template for conditioning consumers to pay for relevant content and valuable applications, especially for mobile devices.

MediaShift’s guide to alternative business models for newspapers, ranging from those that newspapers have been experimenting with for a while to those that are brand new or recently borrowed from other types of media. 
 
Charging on the Web won't work for general-news publishers, and there are better alternatives. Here's one prescription for newspapers as an alternative to the paid-web-content treatment plans.