Interesting stuff from Vin Crosbie (when does Vin ever write something that isn’t interesting and insightful?) on paid content:
People would be willing to pay a subscription fee for a service that delivers news to them online; but not for a service that doesn’t exactly meet their needs and interests, that sends exactly the same package of news to everyone. Paid content isn’t dead; just payment for the traditional ‘one-to-many’ package of content is.
While it isn’t necessarily wise to base business decisions on individual experience, I can’t imagine ever paying for a customized news service. I can’t keep up with all the free content I should keep up with now. That said, I wouldn’t want a service that whittled it down for me, cause I think I’ve whittled it down for myself as much as can be done intelligently.
But maybe more general news consumers would in fact appreciate such a service.
Can an existing media company provide it?
And read what Vin says about a major weakness of newspapers as a general interest product in the age of niche interests — hint, just duplicating it online is a bad strategy (like I said before).
Getting online readers to fork over any money on the regular means providing them with a high-quality niche product full of exclusive content.
And if it’s something readers can drop on an expense account, all the better: How many of the Wall Street Journal’s online subscribers pay out of their own pocket?
That’s always a question that kicks around in my head in any discussion about paid content.
Off the top of my head I can name a dozen specialist news services with annual revenues of tens of millions.
These are aimed at businesses, of course. Consumers have never had news so good, so plentiful, so inexpensive.
But comprehensive news items on niche industry areas are seldom included in the general news stream. They cost money to ferret out and investigate, and are created in large quantities the world over for an ever news-hungry corporate marketplace.