May 24, 2013
Paying to read a newspaper online
Yes, the future is here. Again. Every time there is a new technology, the old one has to go away. Cutting down trees, making paper, running ink through presses, loading them up on trucks and delivering them, physically, is going away. But, like every new technology, there will be plenty of overlap. I often point out that horses were used for many decades after the invention of cars. And there are places where it's better to have a horse than a car, to this day!
But paper newspapers are on their way out. But if you think that the expensive of producing a paper, like printing a book, is in the physical aspect, that is, the paper, etc., you are wrong. The greatest cost is in the writing. And if you think that the dollar or so that you spend on a newspaper (and I mean paper) is paying for the reporters, editors, etc., you are wrong, too. Newspapers, whether physical or online, are supported by advertising.
And since 99% of the revenue of a newspaper comes from advertising, it begs the question, why charge for a subscription at all? The answer has to do with image.
There are a lot of free newspapers and magazines. I'm sure you can think of them. They sit on street corners, at the entrance to restaurants and bars, etc. But do you have any respect for the information in them? Probably not, as it's so completely obvious that they are just some random articles wrapped around a bunch of ads. But now look at the bigger newspapers. Same thing, right? But you paid for that newspaper, so it must be better, right?
There will always be free newspapers and magazines, both physically and on the internet. But people will still feel more comfortable with a subscription to a "respectable" newspaper. So that's what newspapers and magazines that are switching over from free to subscription online. What price respectably?
Posted by Brad Hall