Poynter Online: How to ‘get off the free-content treadmill’

With 20 million monthly unique visitors, the New York Times could make $240 million from charging these users just $1.00 a month on average, according to Poynter’s calculations.

“Beyond being a gamble worth taking because of the potentially significant payoff, there is no realistic alternative to charging for quality content that anyone has presented,” says Steve Brill, who goes on to set out his plan for getting off ‘the free-content treadmill’.

Full story at this link…

2 thoughts on “Poynter Online: How to ‘get off the free-content treadmill’

  1. Paul Lomax

    And if I had a dollar everytime somebody thought they could do micropayments for content…

    Huge issues with this idea:
    1. The site gets 20 million unique users a month, but half of those probably visit for less than a minute depending on their bounce rates and dwell times. It’s pretty hard to get a buck off somebody for 10 seconds’ attention.

    2. The cheapest thing itunes sells is $1. Nobody has properly cracked micropayments. 50c of every debit card transaction goes to the bank, so charging 5 or 10c per transaction means you’re making a loss. The only option is to bump up the average order value, which means charging for a month minimum, and losing most impulse buys.

    3. You wouldn’t have 20m uniques for long if you paywall the content. In a world where people hit back and try the next link in Google just because of slow loading, it’s tough. The registration/purchase process alone without money coming into it would cause the vast majority to drop out.

    Bare in mind that the average converstion rate for e-commerce is something like 1% (of visitors who buy something), and that’s on sites you visit simply to buy something.

    So much of the content won’t be unique. most of it will be broken elsewhere. so you’re left with a ‘fat head’ and no long tail.

    Perhaps we have to live with journalism being a ‘loss leader’, as milk is to supermarkets. Draw the audience and maybe actually sell them something appropriate – retailing and merchandising. The problem is most media outlets haven’t got a clue about retailing. Advertising revenue is easier…

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