Graphic Friday: Are You Willing To Pay For Local News?
Survey results published last March by The AARP Bulletin (PDF) don’t look promising.
The exchange opportunities for local news took a hit this past week when the Record Eagle instituted a limited paywall for local news content. The track record for paywalls succeeding is not promising, particularly when it’s filtering the only content that makes a media outlet relevant. Not knowing the numbers at the Record Eagle, we can’t say for certain the outcome. If they can convince the snowbirds to sign-up, that aging demographic may provide a sense of success in the short-term: the above survey doesn’t show that as likely. However, if the Eagle is trying to build a readership from the next generation, those 40 and under, I don’t know what model they are looking at that shows paywalls are successful.
Why is it important?(Memo to Newspapers: Stop Thinking Like a Portal)
One reason it’s important is because just as the Record Eagle was beginning to really click with its social media outreach & engaging with readers, now its most relevant content is behind a paywall. Online readers are casual, we often don’t even associate a particular story with its source; news is simply online. Social media has helped brand some of that content. How many followers will continue pay attention if the links provided are typically behind a wall?
The opportunity costs are high once you limit exchange opportunities in the commons, and like it or not, the small town newspaper is a pseudo-commons. However, the opportunity costs are only accounted for if you are aware of the possibilities. The question remains, does the only local newspaper of record realize the potential they
We wish them luck; hope it works.
(FYI, this reminds me of an ask I need to make…next week.)
Comments: we welcome your comments, please don’t be shy. The more questions, perspectives and general participation we have here the better. What’s on your mind?