Australian Newsagency Blog

A blog on issues affecting Australia's newsagents, media and small business generally.

Digital versus print challenges of The New York Times speak to local challenges

Mark Fletcher
May 19th, 2014 · 2 Comments

Digiday has published a fascinating report into the digital challenges being confronted by The New York Times. The graphs in the report show excellent growth in digital access while at the same time showing the high cost of serving the declining and unprofitable print consumer. It’s the biggest single challenge facing newspaper companies, the reason for so many changes at Fairfax and more to come.

The biggest single challenge publishers face is how to monetise traffic to their sites and individual stories. The reason this is a challenge is because they have looked at with experience in and from the perspective of selling display ads and classified ads in the print world. Monetisation of digital content needs a completely different .NET approach. A publisher who gets this and acts should do well. A traditional pay wall is not the answer.

If I was running a publishing business I’d be pursuing multiple models at once – including following the model that is working so well for in-game purchasing as people are happy to pay a small fee to get to the next step.  Let me buy a story for a few cents. Let me follow a story for a bit more.  However, with so much content available freely it is hard for a publisher to have a genuine exclusive like game makers have. I’d also be investing in a Twitter like platform for trusted news – people will want that with Twitter being filled more with junk content and advertising.

Look at the MH370 story. While I would not sign up to a masthead based on the story I’d have paid for 7, 14, or 30 days of trusted coverage on this story alone.

Publishers need to come up with new entry points to paying for content – beyond the masthead.


Category: Media disruption · Newspapers

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 David @ Angle Vale Newsagency // May 19, 2014 at 9:13 PM

    This gells with a discussion I had last week with a customer who was buying the Financial Review for budget coverage, but doesn’t normally buy it. He has looked at online subscriptions, but resents paying for a month’s papers when he may only read one or two issues a month.

    We agreed that the best model would be similar to pre pay phone where you pay upfront, an amount is deducted for each issue “consumed” and the account topped up as necessary.

    And this is why I don’t have “pay TV”. I don’t want to pay a hefty fee for all sorts of stuff that doesn’t interest me but would happily pay a few dollars a week to watch an AFL match.

    It is all about making it easy for a customer to give you money.


  • 2 ED // May 21, 2014 at 6:17 AM

    Ok but you still need to make money, Talk around our town is that the free paper is going to stop. yippee


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