For media executives awaiting reassuring evidence before experimenting with digital subscriptions, the time has arrived.
Simply put, their more adventurous colleagues at other companies have discovered multiple paths around the biggest risk attached to the pursuit of subscription revenue: diminished audience reach.
Here’s how they’ve navigating that tricky challenge:
- They’ve adjusted their paywall meters to permit whatever number of monthly free visits makes the most sense in their balance of reach and revenue. The trend, by the way, is definitely toward leaky walls rather than hard ones.
- They’ve recognized that, financially, their sites could afford to lose substantial traffic because their “sell-through” of online ads rarely approached their inventory anyway.
- They’ve made smart decisions, journalistically, about what content should remain outside the wall.
Companies big and small are discovering that their pre-wall fears of precipitous drops in traffic just haven’t materialized. Metered walls are not the only paths into paid content, of course. Today, the Boston Globe will begin charging a flat fee of $3.99 a week for access to BostonGlobe.com, a new site spotlighting content from the printed newspaper. The company’s existing Boston.com site will remain free but will include much less content from the newspaper.
The comforting news about the limited downside of paid says nothing about the potential upside of the subscriptions themselves.… Read more