We’re back to to discussion Walter Hussman’s diatribe against free content. This time it’s Gordon Borrell taking apart Mr. Hussman’s thesis.
Mr. Hussman is correct that daily circulation at The Columbus Dispatch has fallen 5.8 percent since it dropped its subscription model for content on its Web site. What he did not state, however, was that The Dispatchâ€™s Web reach went from five percent under the subscription model to more than 25 percent under the free model, according to Nielsen data. According to Gerry Barker, general manager of the companyâ€™s digital operations, â€œThe resulting growth in online revenue dwarfs anything we could ever generate as a paid site. This is about building a sustainable business model and positioning our company for the future.â€?
I didn’t know this:
By 2006, newspapers operated the largest-grossing Web sites in 95% of all U.S. markets. And 60% of those Web sites were generating more cash flow for their companies than the largest-grossing terrestrial radio station in those markets.
Tell me again how we should charge for access online?