Web Delivers for Papers: The New York Times' site, nytimes.com, last year generated 85,000 paid subscriptions to the paper's print edition, while sister publication The Boston Globe sold 15,000 via Boston.com. [...] The Wall Street Journal's WSJ.com, which restricts most of its content to online subscribers, combined with sister sites such as OpinionJournal.com to sell 26,000 subscriptions to the paper last year.
I have to admit, that's a surprise. A shock, even. One of the reasons I prefer online newspapers is not having to deal with the paper subscription -- the physical paper, I mean. It would never have occurred to me to reverse that and then subscribe.
Mind, I'm not sure what I would do if all the newspapers I read online decided to start charging for all content. One newspaper I read did, in fact, decide to start charging, and I stopped reading; however, that wasn't so much because of the charge -- it really isn't entirely obnoxious, although for non subscribers to the paper version, it's pretty stiff -- but because of the way it was handled, with no notice of the change whatsoever. I figure anyone who doesn't tell me and give me a chance to purchase before they convert a free resource doesn't really want my business.
Of course, the Jupiter Media Matrix study, indicating that the bulk of online users won't pay for content, is buried in the middle of that. Overall, though, what it seems to amount to is that people will pay for content that's important enough; you just have to make it important to them. Which is, of course, the tricky bit.Posted by iain at March 25, 2002 11:34 PM