Paywalls

There’s plenty of activity – and anxiety – around whether or how to charge for digital content. (And not all of it involves Rupert Murdoch.) Who are the latest publishers to take the paid content plunge? How does the iPad and its ilk change the paywall approach? Read on for some fresh insights on a long-running debate.

FEATURED STORIES

Paywalls are getting a lot more complicated
As if figuring out a paid content strategy isn’t hard enough, along come the iPhone and now the iPad to complicate matters even further. The unique dilemma for newspaper and magazine publishers exploring these new platforms is whether and how to charge for access to content that most give away freely on their websites.

5 questions to ask before putting up a paywall
Thinking of a putting up a paywall? No need to reinvent the wheel. Here we highlight the tried and true strategies behind the web’s most successful paywalls.

Paywalls: a salesperson’s FAQ
Salesperson buy-in is often a bellwether as to whether your paywall strategy will work. How do you ensure that your sales team is set up for success?

The man who doesn’t believe in the niche
In the great paywall debate, the Wall Street Journal and Financial Times are anomalies, two papers that could command fees because of their tight focus on financial news. So why is the WSJ acting like a general interest newspaper?

Finding a paid content model that’s right for you
How do you figure out if there’s a paid content model that’s right for your audience, and your business? We offer some much-needed guidance.

Early adopters of new online payment platform leaning toward metered, segmented options
A Q&A with Press+ co-founder Gordon Crovitz about the company’s online payment system, who’s using it, and the types of payment options they’re exploring.

Five keys to uncovering a profitable data business
Here are five basic rules to help B2B publishers turn their sleepy directories into serious data products.

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. They 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.

Got commerce? Enthusiast publisher F+W grows emedia store business 113%
F+W Media has leveraged the power of the community – or communities in its case – to carve out a high-growth e-commerce business. Its 21 e-stores – selling everything from books, CDs and DVDs to workshops, calendars and, increasingly, affiliate products – helped the publisher grow its e-commerce revenues by 113% in 2009.

ADDITIONAL WEB RESOURCES

The danger of the wall
Jeff Jarvis has nothing against charging for content, if you can. But he believes building pay walls around online news is a bad business decision, based on emotion rather than rational economics.
Source: BuzzMachine

Why the future of good news is not free
The Sunday Times of London explains its decision to begin charging a weekly fee for its Web content. “We believe many readers will be prepared to pay this relatively small amount because they value our journalism and they understand that nothing of value is free,” the Times wrote.
Source: TimesOnline

Desperate times call for the Times paywall
Newspaper publishers are driven to try anything that might turn their businesses around – even introducing what might seem like a kamikaze paywall around a general news site, as the Times and Sunday Times are doing.
Source: Guardian.co.uk

Pew: readers prefer ad-supported news to pay walls
A new Pew Research Center report on the State of the Media concludes that, when it comes to online news, getting people to pay for content is “like trying to force butterflies back into their cocoons.”
Source: Ars Technica

Paywall on-ramps get a workaround
Web developers have created a browser extension called BreakThePayWall that helps users overcome part of news publishers’ subscription strategy. 
Source: paidContent

iPad app pricing: A last act of insanity by delusional content companies
Looking at the iPad app rollout, you can easily separate those who are developing digital businesses from those who are trying to protect print margins and see the iPad as a vertical, closed model to control and monetize content.
Source: MobileBeat

Audiences don’t pay for content
The media industry won’t get healthy if it thinks about the Internet as the reason that consumers have stopped paying for content.
Source: Huffington Post

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?
Source: Columbia Journalism Review

Pitfalls of the pay wall
Before charging for content, news organizations must bypass the “quality journalism” argument and answer five key questions.
Source: Knight Digital Media Center