Sunday, March 28, 2010

Newspapers Price Online Access

Will online readers pay for newspaper content? Overseas, the Financial Times has been using metered pricing for some time. Every time a reader clicks onto the site, the "meter" starts ticking. If the reader hasn't registered with FT, he or she can read only 1 article per month for free. If the reader has registered, he or she can read 10 articles per month for free. Paid subscribers receive full access to the entire news and archive sites, with no restrictions on the number of articles that can be viewed.

So far, FT's pricing policy has served the publication well. Over time, FT has made its metering more restrictive, not less restrictive, and the publication currently has more than 120,000 paid subscribers, an increase of 22% compared with the previous year, according to Advertising Age.

The Wall Street Journal has been successfully charging for online content and serves a loyal customer base. Now, London's Times and Sunday Times will begin charging for online access. The New York Times has a plan to begin charging in 2011. How much revenue can newspapers raise by pricing online content--and how much will readers be willing to pay?

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