ADOTAS – Only one in five U.S. consumers is willing to pay for online news, according to a recent Pew research study. Pay-per-article or subscription fees simply drive readers elsewhere. These findings are bad news for newspaper and magazine publishers intent on charging readers for online content. But the creative juices are flowing at such cash strapped publishing houses.
For example, the New York Times recently announced a hybrid plan in which readers will be able to view a certain number of free articles each month, but they’ll have to pay a flat fee for full access to the site. By comparison, the Wall Street Journal Online has a flat $79 per year subscription fee, which they are able to charge because their content appeals to a specialized and motivated readership. And that quintessential capitalist, Rupert Murdoch, has indicated his intentions to build pay-walls around News Corps. many other information outlets.
For consumers to fork over the cash, news organizations will have to offer “content that is unique, and this may require specialization and investment by news organizations,” Pew reports. A creative approach is obviously needed. To date, the advertising of online print media has been more closely related to the traditional print forms. But the online versions of broadcast television networks reflects their traditional video commercial advertisements.
Print media online has ample opportunity to expand beyond traditional methods of generating revenue for the invaluable service they provide to our public discourse. Readers may have the patients to watch a video commercial prior to being able to read a news story. But anything beyond a few seconds of attention and savvy online readers simply go around the pay-wall.