Old media and new media: Paywalls

This post is a continuation to my Old media and digital media – part 1 posting that discussed on the changes on the traditional publishing business field. This posting is part of my series of Journalism and media postings.


A paywall is a system that prevents Internet users from accessing webpage content without a paid subscription.[1] There are both “hard” and “soft” paywalls in use. “Hard” paywalls allow minimal to no access to content without subscription, while “soft” paywalls allow more flexibility in what users can view without subscribing, such as selective free content and/or a limited number of articles per month, or the sampling of several page. Newspapers have been implementing paywalls on their websites to increase their revenue, which has been diminishing due to a decline in print subscriptions and advertising revenue.

Digital First Media is working on paywalls, even though it really doesn’t want to article tells that plenty of newspapers have been jumping headlong into the paywall business recently, and many of them claim that the introduction of subscription plans has been the best thing that ever happened to them. This Is the Scariest Statistic About the Newspaper Business Today article tells that when the digital ad revolution remains out of reach, then why some stalwarts like the New York Times and Wall Street Journal have moved to subscription models for their websites to bolster digital ad growth.

Don’t believe anyone who tells you paywalls (or any aspect of news-biz revenues) are a settled matter article tells that there are many people who are worried about weak results of a paywall. Even if they start providing a consistent, significant revenue source, they will always be subject to disruption and competitive challenges. The newsonomics of zero and The New York Times article tells that at America’s top newspaper, the revenue decline has — for now, at least — stopped. But even with its industry-leading success (in a league only with The Wall Street Journal and Financial Times), the law of big numbers makes the next few years tougher. That’s why we see the closing of purposely-left-open leaks in the paywall and an expanded, better promoted corporate digital circulation program. That’s why “global” is often the first or second word alongside “video”.

The Subscription Project – Or A Paywall By Any Other Name article tells that the Pros and Cons of some form of online paid access for newspaper websites have been argued in such extremes that nuance and accuracy have been the first victims of the debate. The Columbia Journalism Review links paywalls to higher quality journalism and argues the free web, supported by advertising, does the opposite – labeling the results “hamster wheel” journalism.

It’s not a ‘paywall’ when it’s ‘freemium’ article comments that the word “paywall” as applied to news websites sucks. It’s a negative word. If a consumer hears that a favorite news site is putting up a “paywall,” the response is highly likely to be: avoid!

People that buy on-line

Disruptions: Impulse Buys, Straight to a Screen article tells that music industry executives declared some time ago “People won’t pay for things online!” Yes, as did movie industry executives. TV, radio, book, newspaper and magazine bigwigs, too, have all made similar claims over the last decade. Well, those apocalyptic predictions turn out to be wrong. Digital media, unlike its slow cousin, is immediate. With one-click shopping and smartphones, buying media online becomes an impulse purchase, like the candy or gum by the cash register. And it all adds up, quickly if done right.

When circulation drops raise prices?

Magazines Cross the Digital Divide article tells that buffeted by declining advertising, which accounted for about 75% of their revenue historically, magazines are turning to tablet computers and digital editions to boost circulation revenue. In doing so, they are hoping to reset decades of subscription discounting. In the book and newspaper industries, digital versions are typically cheaper than print ones. But some in the magazine world are going the other way, charging more for their digital versions.

Datawatch: Price vs volume and why newspapers should put their prices up faster article tells that both the Guardian and the Daily Mirror have increased their cover prices considerably because falling circulations. Newspaper s are simply responding to a shrinking readership by asking those readers who remain loyal to pay more. As analysts such as Simon-Kucher & Partners have argued, pricing is a newspaper’s most powerful economic lever. Newspapers are raising prices to protect circulation revenue, when in fact they should be using price hikes to grow it. So here’s the key point: when newspapers increase price, they have increased revenue and price rises haven’t significantly accelerated declines in the number of people buying the newspaper.



  1. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Bitcoin’s digital tip jar: Microtransactions reborn

    The digital currency’s low transaction costs may revive a long-frustrated online content model — the paywall.

    Since the mid 1990s, vendors have dreamed of being able to sell music, news, games, and other digital goods online for tiny amounts that would in theory add up to big revenue. But structural barriers including fees from payments processors have stymied the model for nearly two decades, leaving publishers to rely on meager advertising, underperforming subscription models, and expensive centralized stores from Amazon, Apple, and Google.

    Low costs and other features are making bitcoin an attractive basis for resurrecting the micropayments idea. Two startups, Bitwall and Coinlock, could help shift consumer activity away from walled gardens like iTunes and toward a less centralized ecosystem in which independent vendors could offer content at micro-prices, ultimately opening up vast new flows of consumer spending online.

  2. Tomi Engdahl says:

    The First News Report on the L.A. Earthquake Was Written by a Robot

    While the post appeared under Schwencke’s byline, the real author was an algorithm called Quakebot that he developed a little over two years ago. Whenever an alert comes in from the U.S. Geological Survey about an earthquake above a certain size threshold, Quakebot is programmed to extract the relevant data from the USGS report and plug it into a pre-written template. The story goes into the LAT’s content management system, where it awaits review and publication by a human editor.

  3. Tomi Engdahl says:

    NYT Readers Spend Same Amount of Time on Paid Posts as News Stories

    Readers of the New York TimesNYT -4.50% are spending roughly the same amount of time on advertiser-sponsored posts as on news stories, according to Meredith Levien, the executive vice president of advertising for The Times.

  4. Tomi Engdahl says:

    The NYT’s new paywall products flounder
    Early problems for the paper’s new apps

    The New York Times’ expanded paywall offerings are off to a poor start, and its three-year run of higher circulation revenue may be at an end.

    The Times’ digital-subscription strategy has been a huge success since it launched in March 2011, tallying 799,000 subscribers by the end of last month. But the high growth rates for the $195-a-year product, which have saved the paper’s bacon, were leveling off, while print circulation continued to dwindle and digital ads went backward. The Times needed a new source of growth.

    - See more at: http://www.cjr.org/the_audit/the_nyts_new_paywall_products.php#sthash.ls2jmxJq.dpuf


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