We've been through this before. The infamous publishing paywall is slated to go up again for New York Times readers. For many readers of other various local papers, paywalls have been a reality for awhile, leaving us to wonder if paid content models actually work.
The State of Journalism Online
Roughly a year ago, Journalism Online launched its reader revenue platform, known as Press+. Designed as a flexible, sophisticated, e-commerce solution for publishers, Press+ was expected to innovate the online pay process for newspapers.
According to a recent analysis, preliminary data suggests that advertising revenue did not decline and monthly unique visits only fell by up to 7% following the introduction of a paid online model. Additionally, page views fell by up to 20%.
While it’s debatable how successful this model truly is, those who are looking to put paywalls up are taking note. The New York Times, in particular, is especially interested, as it is slated to introduce a metered paywall model in the next few weeks.
Though it is still unknown when the paper will switch to the paid model, we do know what they’ll be charging.
In order to position themselves as a viable competitor among the e-Reader market, New York Times plans to charge readers less than US$ 20 a month for full access to its online newspaper when the company introduces its paid service. According to Bloomberg, the price will be set at less than the US$ 19.99 customers currently pay for a NYT subscription on Amazon’s Kindle reader.
According to Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism, online news readership grew 8.5 percent in 2010. Despite this growth, newspapers are still struggling to generate revenue while delivering interactive and dynamic web content. It may be too soon to tell if paid content models work successfully across all sizes of newspapers, but we'll be anxiously waiting to see how the Times launches their paywall and how it is received.