News this week that The Times is going to start charging for content should come as no surprise. News Corp, the parent company of The Times, The Wall Street Journal etc, has talked about forcing people to pay for content for a long time. With falling advertising revenues, falling circulation numbers and a general shift in attitudes, it seems that the news dinosaurs are resorting back to methods they tried in the early days of the net.
The truth is, from most corners of the web is, people will pay for content, as long as it is unique and irreplaceable.
The star of the pay for content model is The Economist which has a large portion of its content free to read, with the more in depth articles and technical journals on a subscriber model. The key things that make The Economist content bankable is because it is unique, in depth, and a leader in its field.
The same can be said of any pay-TV model. People will pay to watch sports, or have in-depth news coverage if the content is unique and of top quality.
What is causing Newspapers and other old media to struggle is they are trying to be all things to all people. They are still running on the Cost-Per-Mille advertising model that means you have to reach as many people as possible. Pay for content media like Gaming Industry Weekly know they are reaching a select audience, but that is the idea. They even still sell advertising, but that too is ok because the advertisers want to reach a select audience too.
Where newspapers started to go wrong, was they refused to shift their advertising model when people started to spend more online. Why would an advertiser want to spend thousands of dollars reaching thousands of people that are not interested in his product? With the pay per click model Google promoted, advertisers can now spend tens of dollars reaching the tens of people that will buy their product.
Again this, then comes back to branding, and the strength of a brand. You want your brand to become the most authoritative and trusted brand in your field, so that both suppliers and customers are willing to buy from you. You need to make your brand unique and targetted.
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Other Interesting Blogs on Pay For Content;
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