Paywalls and Convergence

As convergence catches up with news organisations the world over, managers putting together a sustainable business model are faced with the all-important question — should the content be free or paid-for. I am not much of a business strategist, but as a user I can say paid subscription doesn’t work for me, for now. My usage behaviour towards The New York Times online stands testimony to this.
I like The New York Times for its unique content and the ‘different’ user experience it offers. I used to access it in my free time. All that changed when one day the website denied me access, saying I had exhausted my free usage and that I had to pay to read further.
I began exploring other news websites for ‘different’ content. I don’t say I have found a good alternative for The New York Times. But who cares. I have found other interesting news websites minus the paywall. In any case, there’s sufficient information online to fulfill my basic news needs. So the paid subscription of The New York Times doesn’t excite me as of now.
But my attitude may have been different had I been a regular reader of that newspaper, meaning I was so hooked to it that I would have paid to access it. Converting your existing readers to paid digital subscribers is easier. Financial Times claims 2.5 million of its four million subscribers have converted to paid subscribers. But developing new loyalties with a paywall would seem to be a lot tougher.
I must confess though that I still miss The New York Times. I may go back to it, become a paid subscriber. If that happens, the only reason will be because the content it offers is so unique. Sounds like a strong case for niche online content?


1 thought on “Paywalls and Convergence

  1. Pingback: What works? | cainayanemi

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