There’s still lots of talk about whether newspapers can make money by charging for content. There’s a debate on LinkedIn, and Reflections of a Newsosaur recently weighed in, too. The positions are still pretty much the same — newspapers can’t because news isn’t a commodity anymore; or newspapers can only charge for certain, narrow content.
I think something different: I believe newspapers can charge for content if they do so as part of a single subscription strategy. In other words, a newspaper’s valuable subscriber gets all news on all devices free — in print, online access, mobile, e-readers (eventually) and other e-pub applications (like Adobe Air). One price and they can access all the content they want, whenever they want, from a number of different devices easily and conveniently. That’s the marketing strategy — ease and convenience. Convenience, nowadays, resonates with the public more than the news we provide. We should emphasis that through this ease and convenience, we’re making it easier for our subscribers to live their lives, because we keep them informed, help them save money (through coupons) and keeping them abreast of news at it breaks.
Everyone else has to get a subscription of some kind. If they don’t, they don’t get to access our products.
The problem with this strategy is it would require all publishers to play along. That will be a huge challenge. But for the sake of the industry, publishers need to find a legal way to get together and talk about how to make this happen.
The views expressed on this blog are mine alone.