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Marc Edge

Paywall woes

30 Apr 2013
Posted by Shannon

This month the world’s most celebrated paywall announced it is coming down slowly and discreetly. Now, the New York Times will tell you it is just the videos that will be available to hoi polloi, but anyone reading the research knows what they’re really admitting. Paywalls don’t work beyond squeezing a few more cents out of your existing print subscribers. Even worse, they kill your online traffic. 

Last week, Digital First’s Steve Buttry made a persuasive case for how newspapers need to find new ways of generating revenue. He points out that using paywalls to squeeze more money out of print subscribers is a temporary solution at best. No one likes to put it so bluntly but just like theatre audiences, newspaper readers are greying and dying faster than millennials can replace them.

I take no pleasure in being Cassandra – okay, I take a little pleasure when my crystal ball proves right  – but I wrote about Paywall Woes over at TheTyee.ca in March. NYT’s financial reports made it obvious that even though their existing print audience loves them enough to pay a little bit more, they’re not attracting new (and younger) readers – which is crucial to any enterprise. 

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