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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Converting Content Into 'Paid' Content (Oh, Brother!)

Paid content is actually growing in popularity...I could hardly believe it!

But, how do you monetize good content? There are several models for paid content that are being experimented with...and successfully at that...

This from FOLIO magazine's Executive Editor, Matt Kinsman:

Building a Business on Content Sales
Publishers explore different pricing models, products

The appeal of paid content is growing. Last month, The New York Times embarked on one of the largest tests yet around paid content, introducing a subscription plan for the heaviest users of its site. The plan offers three digital subscription options across a variety of devices. All Digital Access-Web site, tablet, smartphone-costs $35 per month.

Meanwhile, printer R.R. Donnelley acquired Journalism Online and its Press+ service, which enables publishers to offer a variety of paid and metered content plans as well as mobile/tablet access, enhanced site functionality, and out-of-market-access.

However, paid content is far from a slam-dunk. The Atlantic has backed away from the launch of The Atlantic Premium, which would have offered a daily bundle of its online content for a monthly fee. "We're taking a step back on our entire mobile/digital strategy and revisiting everything right now," says president Justin Smith. "We're looking at the data from our apps so far and it begs the strategic question of whether we would consider any kind of metered model on the Web site. We're not ready to make that decision at this point. Our current high-CPM, ad-supported model is working."

The New York Times recently announced a 26-week deep discount to try to get readers behind the new paywall (The Times says that more than 100,000 users are paying so far).

Manageable Solutions

Smaller publishers are getting onboard as well. U.K.-based luxury title Lusso Magazine has introduced micropayment options for online premium content at its Web site that offer access to full-length features across up to five different devices. The payments will be processed through PayPal. While purchases are only made on the Web site (which receives about 40,000 unique visitors per month), a user can re-enter a supplied voucher code to read it on another device.
While b-to-b publishing historically has been built around the premise of free content, it also has the best chance for converting to a paid model.

And not everything requires paywalls or metered programs. Last fall, UBM Electronics' EE Times launched EE Times Confidential, a premium, subscription-based intelligence report. The report is a downloadable PDF that is currently published monthly and will increase to twice per month later in 2011 (a Web site offering current issues and archives will also be launched).

"When ad money is dwindling and whatever we do is defined by how much money we can bring in, [editors] are in a difficult situation to justify our existence," says EE Times content chief Junko Yoshida. "We've grown up in a world where the information is given away for free. We decided we wanted to change the game."

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