Thursday, February 03, 2005

DON'T PAY PER VIEW. Stephen Humphries quotes me in today's Christian Science Monitor on free newspapers and websites, and whether subscription fees are part of the past.


Anonymous said...

Dan, the Wall Street Journal has always charged for access to its web site, and of course also charges at the newsstand. Any word on how their approach is working?

Anonymous said...

Several, Financial Times for example, now have open access with some content only available on fee basis. This may be a successful way of delivering value added material.

Anonymous said...

[b]Who knows where this is going[/b]
It's going to become a niche business [the Projo recently uped it's death notice fees] and I don't think we are going to like where it finally ends up. But there are entire sections I really don't care about anymore.
The newspaper sports section,for example. The i-net has made them obsolete.

Dan Kennedy said...

There are two types of content that people will pay for online: financial advice and pornography. That's why the Wall Street Journal has been so successful in charging for its content. Interestingly, though, the editorial page had to put together its own free site,, in order to remain a part of the conversation.

I want to share something Jack Shafer told me recently that strikes me as very smart. When people talk about a newspaper or magazine's website being "free," they're leaving out half the story. In fact, when you read online, you - instead of the newspaper or magazine - have purchased the printing press (your computer) and have assumed the distribution costs (your Internet access). There's nothing free about "free" at all.

Therefore, it's not unreasonable to think that, someday, there will be enough advertising online to support quality journalism without having to charge users an additional fee. (Consider the television model. It has many faults, but lack of profitability isn't one of them.)

It's a little bit disheartening that it hasn't happened online yet, but perhaps we're getting there.