Month: March 2013

"For a cautionary tale, everyone cites Paul Bradley Carr." - THE SUNDAY TIMES

Porous Paywalls Are Not The Answer To Anything. Cartoon Towers, On The Other Hand…

I‘ve already shared my vision for a (consumer) media landscape divided down the middle. On one side will be the linkbaiters, the SEO-ers, the aggregators and the slideshow-ers: all free, all supported by ads. On the other side will be the publishers, the journalists, the writers: all paywalled, all the time. Both sides will happily coexist, trading content for traffic.

It took them a while but finally it seems like major news organisations have realised that I’m (always) right. In the past few days, everyone from the Washington Post to the San Francisco Chronicle (via The Sun, The Telegraph and Andrew Sullivan) has announced plans either to erect a paywall for the first time or to raise the height of their existing wall.

There’s just one problem: most of those publishers have opted for, or apparently plan to opt for, a “porous paywall” — journalism’s equivalent of the “freemium” model.

[An important note: everything I know about the economics of journalism is limited to the consumer market. I know absolutely dick-all about the economics of trade pubs like PandoDaily, Variety or Sheep!]

In George London’s wonderful essay “You’re Doing Fremium Wrong,” London points out the logical flaw in companies giving away their core product for free while charging “power users” for extra features…

“…in many freemium startups, the free product is the real product and the “pro” product is just a bunch of random tacked-on features that might appeal to power users.


Everyone Knows Print Is Dead. Which Is Why NSFWCORP Is Launching A Print Edition

On March 25th, NSFWCORP is launching a print edition. Experts agree: This is a terrible idea.

Tina Brown, the editor of Newsweek/DailyBeast says print is dead, and as proof she points to the closure of a magazine that she drove into the ground using a succession of bullshit linkbait-y barely-Business Insider-worthy covers which succeeded only in turning a troubled print brand into a doomed one.

Editors of dozens of local newspapers say print is dead because they are unable to find an audience hungry for their daily bowl of rehashed AP Newswire copy, unfunny comic strips, dumb-as-a-rock “humor” columnists, and some nonsense about an escaped dog.

Media experts say print is dead because, well, that’s the kind of forward thinking insight you have to offer to succeed in media punditry. Writing off an analog format is far more likely to get you a book deal, and far less likely to come back and bite you in the ass than “betting against the future” might.

The consensus that print is dead is clear. And the continuing print success of the Economist (where the same number of subscribers choose a print-only subscription as a digital-only one) is annoying and confusing. As is thecontinuing print success of the New Yorker and The Week.…


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