Paid content VPA 2013

359 views

Published on

RJI's "Paid Content Online" presentation at the Virginia Press Association Advertising and News Conference, April 18-20, 2013, Norfolk, VA.

0 Comments
1 Like
Statistics
Notes
  • Be the first to comment

No Downloads
Views
Total views
359
On SlideShare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
47
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
7
Comments
0
Likes
1
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Paid content VPA 2013

  1. 1. University of Missouri Missouri School of JournalismPAID ONLINE CONTENTTrends, best practices and strategies that fitVirginia Press AssociationApril 19, 2013Presented by Brian SteffensReynolds Journalism InstituteMissouri School of Journalism
  2. 2. University of Missouri Missouri School of Journalism3 THINGSYOU NEED TO KNOW
  3. 3. University of Missouri Missouri School of Journalism1. HALF the country’sdailies are now chargingPaid content is no longer a trend.It’s a movement.
  4. 4. University of Missouri Missouri School of JournalismHalf the country’s dailies now charge•  An RJI surveyof 458 dailypublishers lastsummershowed that47 percentwere requiringonline users topaySource: 2012 RJI Publishers Confidence Index
  5. 5. University of Missouri Missouri School of JournalismHalf the country’s dailies now chargeSince then, thenumbers haveclimbed to atipping point.Around 650dailies are nowcharging, andmany more haveannounced plansto charge.Source: 2012 RJI Publishers Confidence Index
  6. 6. University of Missouri Missouri School of JournalismSmaller papers have led the way• 59% of dailies under 5,000 circulation• 53% of dailies between 5,001 and 10,000• 46% of dailies between 10,000 and 50,000• 26% of dailies with circulation over 50,000
  7. 7. University of Missouri Missouri School of JournalismGroups have seen the light•  Gannett: 71 of its dailies•  McClatchy•  Tribune•  Media General•  Lee•  Cox•  Scripps•  Morris•  Dow Jones•  Media News-Digital First•  Gatehouse•  Schurz•  Swift•  Wick•  Pioneer•  New York Times
  8. 8. University of Missouri Missouri School of JournalismWhy this matters to the industry• Basic economics: Supply and demand• Widespread paid content is bringing a badlyneeded scarcity to a glut of news• It straightens out an illogical business model
  9. 9. University of Missouri Missouri School of JournalismWhy this matters to the industryIt makes an important statement:Your content has valueregardless of platform.
  10. 10. University of Missouri Missouri School of Journalism2. Reduced page viewsdon’t hurt revenuesSites have so much unsold inventory, the onlylosses in ad sales are pennies in remnant banners.
  11. 11. University of Missouri Missouri School of JournalismWhen paywalls go up• Page view declines range between 5-40 percent• Most sites have an inventory glut — many morepage views than needed to present paid ads• Only remnant and “value added” avails are lost• Paid content quickly covers any lost ad revenue• I know of no site that’s seen a net revenue loss,even those seeing 40 percent fewer page views
  12. 12. University of Missouri Missouri School of Journalism3. Your loyal readers willsupport your efforts to chargeThey want you to succeed.
  13. 13. University of Missouri Missouri School of JournalismThey want you to survive and thrive• Loyal readers are the biggest supporters of paidonline content, even in markets where they areasked to pay more for access to online news.• In Cape Girardeau: Less than 2 percent of homedelivery subscribers opted out. Yet less than 40percent established digital accounts!
  14. 14. University of Missouri Missouri School of Journalism4 BENEFITSOF A PAID MODEL
  15. 15. University of Missouri Missouri School of JournalismNew revenue: Straight to the bottom line• Revenue increases will depend on market sizeand pricing• It’s no silver bullet• Case studies show how pricing affects revenue
  16. 16. University of Missouri Missouri School of JournalismYour site becomes more valuableto your advertisers• More local, more quantifiable• You know who your customers are and whatthey’re seeing on your site.
  17. 17. University of Missouri Missouri School of JournalismQuality of reader comments improvesA longtime reader told Andy Waters after theColumbia Daily Tribune launched its paid model:“Thank you for cleaning up the comments!”
  18. 18. University of Missouri Missouri School of JournalismOnline users are no longer freeloaders.They’re customers.
  19. 19. University of Missouri Missouri School of Journalism2 DISADVANTAGESOF A PAID MODEL
  20. 20. University of Missouri Missouri School of Journalism1. Your online users are no longerfreeloaders — they’re customersUp until now, if they had a complaint, makingthem happy might not have been your highestpriority.After all, you were giving it all away for free.Now, they’re paying customers.
  21. 21. University of Missouri Missouri School of Journalism2. You’ll hear some negativecomments when you launch• Expect story commenters to object• The wave of opposition will be loud — but thinand short-lived• Plan in advance to counteract it•  Thoughtful explanation to readers•  Sustained marketing effort•  Focus on your value proposition
  22. 22. University of Missouri Missouri School of Journalism2 CASE STUDIES• Columbia Daily Tribune• Augusta Chronicle
  23. 23. University of Missouri Missouri School of Journalism• 20,000 average weekday circulation• Ownership: Family• Launched December, 2010• Metered model• Built it in-house
  24. 24. University of Missouri Missouri School of JournalismColumbiaTribune.comlaunched paid contenton Dec. 1, 2010.•  Advertising-only modelwas not generatingrevenue growth•  Wanted to eliminateincentive to stop buyingprint edition•  New revenue stream
  25. 25. University of Missouri Missouri School of Journalism•  Metered model – 10 free/mo.•  Online-only: $8/mo.•  Print subscribers: $1.50/mo.•  Premium: All local content(photos, video, news, sports,blogs, obits, etc.)•  Free: Everything else (sectionfronts, wire, weather,contests, classifieds, etc.)•  Only subscribers cancommentHow does it work?
  26. 26. University of Missouri Missouri School of Journalism•  3,000,000 PVs/mo (still most popular in market)•  Total unique visitors up; local audience up 7%•  More than 9,500 paying – 60% conversion tobundle•  Local advertising unaffected – Non-issue foradvertisers•  In first month, subscription revenue three timeslost ad revenue•  Few objections from readers – Quality journalismat stakeOne year after launch
  27. 27. University of Missouri Missouri School of Journalism• 55,000 average weekday circulation• Ownership: Morris• Launched December, 2010• Metered model• Thoughtful strategy, methodical rollout
  28. 28. University of Missouri Missouri School of Journalism
  29. 29. University of Missouri Missouri School of JournalismCore belief: Placing a value on the content is more important thanany penny we’ll collect.Strategy: Put toe in the paid-content water to learn. Set stage formobile/app paid content strategy. Use flexibility of model to experiment.Start up: Introduction of page threshold phases in December 2010.Rollout: Lots of communication with the market.A thoughtful, deliberate rollout
  30. 30. University of Missouri Missouri School of Journalism• An editor’s column• A publisher’s column• Online FAQ• Anonymous comment interaction• Media response and comment• Phone calls• Newsroom mindset: Let’s give ’em somethingworth paying forA thoughtful, deliberate rollout
  31. 31. University of Missouri Missouri School of JournalismWe go beyond the button-pushing journalismsome bloggers and copycat online sites offer.From Editor Alan English’s column:“How much would you pay to have your favoritejournalist or columnist watchdogging City Hall?Would you buy him or her a cup of coffee eachmonth?”What the Chronicle told readers
  32. 32. University of Missouri Missouri School of Journalism“The value goes beyond access. You support thelocal journalism that includes:•  Bio-testing local waterways, revealing problems andgetting them attention.•  Battling for public records.•  Celebrating local heroes and honoring fallen soldiers.•  Checking the safety of your roadways and bridges.What Alan English told readers
  33. 33. University of Missouri Missouri School of Journalism•  Reviewing policies and hiring practices at city hall.•  Raising awareness and donations for breast cancer.•  Championing better government.•  Leading coverage of ASUs national championship.•  Convening a roundtable of local health care CEOs tolearn the impact of reforms.•  Rallying charitable giving at Christmastime.What Alan English told readers
  34. 34. University of Missouri Missouri School of Journalism“Who else does this as oftenas your local newspaper?”Editor Alan English asked readers:
  35. 35. University of Missouri Missouri School of Journalism7 RECOMMENDATIONS
  36. 36. University of Missouri Missouri School of Journalism1. Make your site worth paying forCharging generates revenue to help payfor journalism, but you now have to makeyour digital edition good enough to expectreaders to actually pay for it.
  37. 37. University of Missouri Missouri School of Journalism1. Make your site worth paying forThis means:• Your site needs to work.• It looks like it was put together with amodicum of care.• You’ve added value to the content.
  38. 38. University of Missouri Missouri School of JournalismProduct differentiationProduct differentiation• Your site should be different from yourprint edition.• Play to the strengths of digital: add valuethat only digital allows you to add
  39. 39. University of Missouri Missouri School of JournalismWhat this means• Deeper, richer stories: documents & data• Sight, sound & motion• Context• Interactivity• Links to archived content• Engagement/community
  40. 40. University of Missouri Missouri School of Journalism
  41. 41. University of Missouri Missouri School of Journalism2. Go with “opt out,” not “opt in”Give print subscribers the option of notchoosing a digital membership — butassume they will want to do so.
  42. 42. University of Missouri Missouri School of Journalism3. Choose a meter over a hard wall
  43. 43. University of Missouri Missouri School of Journalism3. Choose a meter over a hard wall• Keep your site search-engine friendly• Encourage discovery• Some see value in a porous “wall”
  44. 44. University of Missouri Missouri School of Journalism3. but keep your meter tight• Most early adapters started loose and beganto tighten• The Augusta Chronicle began by givingeveryone a free buffer of 100 views• Within 6 months, they’d tightened it to 10
  45. 45. University of Missouri Missouri School of Journalism3. but keep your meter tight05101520253035Lessthan 55 10 15 20 25 andupSurveyed dailies’monthly meter settingsFree stories per 30 daysPercentofpapers
  46. 46. University of Missouri Missouri School of Journalism4. What to keep inside / outside the wallOPEN ACCESS:• Breaking News• Section fronts• Wire• “Commodity news”• Weather• Contests• ClassifiedsRESTRICT ACCESS:• Unique local content• News• Sports• Photos• Obits• Ability to comment
  47. 47. University of Missouri Missouri School of JournalismIt is possible to charge too little.Don’t be afraid to ask readers to pay.5. Don’t be afraid to ask for real money
  48. 48. University of Missouri Missouri School of JournalismIt’s time to take a different approach withyour online subscribers. Begin to setexpectations by conditioning digitalsubscribers to feel they are members, notjust paying customers.6. Membership has its privileges
  49. 49. University of Missouri Missouri School of Journalism• Content• Pricing• Promotion• Customer service7. Develop your owncustomer acquisition strategies
  50. 50. University of Missouri Missouri School of JournalismBrian SteffensReynolds Journalism Institutesteffensb@rjionline.orgMike JennerRJI/Missouri School of Journalismjennerm@missouri.eduCell: (573) 808-4785

×