30. What factors should determine who does or doesn’t pay for journalism? How many articles you read? Which content you access? How in-depth the content is, or what it’s about? How old or new the content is? Who writes the content? The functionality you are provided for accessing the content? Your ability to pay? The value of your eyeballs to advertisers?
What’s the ideal strategy? And what can journalism learn from other industries that face the same question? Many phone apps have free and paid versions and must decide what functionality to limit in the free version. Universities assess ability to pay to determine students’ financial aid. Gmail (like many Google services) is free up until a certain degree of usage (like email storage space).
Should all reporters write for both Pro and main site, with the distinction being an editorial decision based on the type of content? Should Pro articles be free after they’re a certain number of years old?
By Harvard Business Review (Vineet Kumar)
Over the past decade “freemium” — a combination of “free” and “premium” — has become the dominant business model among internet start-ups and smartphone app developers. Users get basic features at no cost and can access richer functionality for a subscription fee. If you’ve networked on LinkedIn, shared files through Dropbox, watched TV shows through Hulu, or searched for a mate on Match, you’ve experienced the model firsthand. It works for B2B companies as well — examples include Box, Splunk, and Yammer.
By Dylan Byers (POLITICO)
May 9, 2013
POLITICO today announced that it will start testing a metered subscription system in six states and internationally. For at least six months, those readers will be required to pay for content after consuming a set number of pages on the website. POLITICO will test different price points and page limits “to find the sweet spot for our readership.”
The experiment will go into effect next week in the states of Iowa, North Dakota, Vermont, Mississippi, New Mexico and Wyoming.
By Mathew Ingram (Nieman Lab)
September 21, 2009
No matter how many times people … try to pop the bubble of faith around micropayments as a cure for what ails the newspaper industry (or even the media industry as a whole), another believer emerges to argue that a secure and extensible micropayment system is a big part of the answer.
By Megan Garber (Nieman Lab)
June 1, 2010
[Panera Bread] in Clayton, Missouri is doing away with prices. The Clayton franchise, now run as a nonprofit restaurant and renamed the “Saint Louis Bread Company Cares Cafe,” offers the same products as typical Panera stores, the same baked goods and soups and salads. Instead of assigning a monetary value to the products, though, the store leaves it to customers to decide what they’ll pay. “Take what you need, leave your fair share,” reads a sign above the store’s counter.
Could the Panera payment model work for news? … there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that it couldn’t.
Even if we citizens need a little push to behave in private with as much civic sensibility as we would in public, there’s nothing to say that news outlets can’t provide — or, at least, experiment with providing — that push. It would simply be a matter of building the push into the structure, and patterns, of consumption. Of creating … an architecture of accountability.
“It’d be nice if you paid” could actually be more incentivizing for consumers than the more blunt, and more transactional, “You have to pay.” Paywalls are one thing; pay doors, if you will — come on in! have a bite! pay what you think is fair! — are another.