Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Comments and questions

C: I subscribe to the OR & the Post-Gazette. I also daily look through the OR On-line. I also look at/read 12) a dozen - or more papers on line. ie the NY Times, Chicago Times, Phoenix, and also papers in San Diego. LA, the Navaho-Hopi Nation, Wheeling, WV, and many others. Is it fair that I read these papers on line for FREE ?, given the expenses of these organizations? Surely not!!! I've been doing it for a long time for FREE. But know what? I think it's just wrong, I should be paying..."something." Somehow, you guys must establish a cost for all of this wonderful on line information that is available to ME..for FREE. The future..in whatever form...cannot be free!!!!! You and your industry must establish a billing system and a cost. Hey, maybe it's only 5 cents or 10 cents a day.It should be a daily charge, not how many I times I look at the site each day. But you newspaper guys/editors/owners...must get it done. NOW is of the ESSENCE! - J.A.

A: Charging for content online does not work at the moment - few people seem willing to pay for news online. We do get income from our online edition in the form of advertising, which is based on traffic; the higher the traffic, the more we can charge for advertising. If we made you pay for the content, the traffic would fall off dramatically, and with it the ad revenue.
But that does not mean that our content is not valuable, and that you won't ever pay for it. When we, as an industry, can come up with an easy way for people to pay for our content - like the micropayments your describe - we will have a much better chance for survival.


Ellipses said...

Looks like we read our Time magazine this week :-)

Anonymous said...

Some major papers tried subscription-only services and they failed badly. One model suggests that if the papers provide online-only content that offers in-depth coverage or uniqueness, people would pay for that. The question is, how does a smaller paper support the staff needed to produce online-only, in-depth, unique content when even the major papers can't afford to do it? Today's readers are used to finding thinks quickly and cheaply on the net. They don't have time to sit down and read, which is, in itself, a tragedy,

Ellipses said...

My thoughts on web-revenue for newspapers is that they need to become a point-of-sale for their advertisers. You can buy a classified ad, but I cannot go to the classifieds, select the Miscellaneous Items, and then BUY the American Girl Dollhouse... The ad points me to the seller, but does not facilitate the transaction. Similarly, ads for other businesses should facilitate something that is unique to the entity that is distributing the ad. But even this is a dying opportunity. If eat-n-park ran an ad on the homepage, they would want everyone funneled through to their website. However, you could go after businesses that do not have a web-presence (a dying breed, boat missed here) and provide that presence through a revenue share model. That said, the pool of businesses to draw from there is minimal. However, there IS the potential that your "marketplace" will become a destination portal and could generate more revenue than the individual retailer's own website. I did not know, until now, that Angelo's had a website... If they were aggregated with other local restaurants and/or businesses on a site that retains it's readers longer, they could siphon off dollars from people who would not ordinarily think to go to Angelosrestaurant.com. Someone goes onto observer-reporter.com/marketplace to place an order (an actual transaction) for flowers from the Ivy Green and they see Angelo's ad/landing page advertisement right next to it... Viola! I order my flowers, and then buy a gift card for angelo's... and I never had to leave the OR's site. Would Angelo's go for a revenue share for business transacted outside of their own website (which they would want to promote)? Who knows? You could argue that they would be capturing dollars that they would not have otherwise.

Just as "news" is becoming more interactive... more a dialogue than a monologue... there should be more give and take between an outlet and its readers. You provide the news at no cost as well as providing a portal through which you can buy from our advertisers. Gross impressions is one thing... having a solid number of revenue transacted through your site is something else entirely.

HippiesWithHaircuts said...

Lets face it folks, the OR is in its death rattle! There is nothing more to be said. Ol' Park's constant denial, along with his boring senile ramblings are a testimony to it's demise. I gave up the OR in favor of the PG about 5 years ago....Why??? because the OR just gave up, surrendered, choked....whatever you want to call it.
The premise that printed news is done is just an excuse for their failure and laziness.
I'm 44, very computer literate, I read and blog on the net allot...However, I still love my newspaper! its very portable! I can read it anytime anywhere. It's less pain to lug around than a laptop...it requires no charging. The newspaper is a traditional, comfortable, go anywhere media that will survive and thrive because of these factors.....I love my blackberry...but Oh you kid!!
The OR will not be around to see it because they have given up....content to just wallow in the glory of the past and deny criticism.
This is the first time I have posted on here. I do check it from time to time to see if anything has changed. Hopefully, we will see that change and something better than a poster being criticized for their writing ability.
Take hope Washington that this mess of a paper will collapse soon. I'm sure when it happens some young blood will step in and make it a going concern again.