In 2011, The Dallas Morning News was one of the leaders in the move by newspapers to roll out a paywall. Two years later, it’s rethinking that approach.
In a new digital strategy Tuesday that offers readers a choice: Come to a free site that’s loaded with ads or spend $11.96 a month to get a cleaner site with fewer ads, plus perks like access to events or baseball tickets. The idea is that the Belo paper can have its cake and eat it too, having enough ad impressions to provide advertisers with reach but also have the critical dual subscription revenue stream. As The New York Times has shown, paywalls can come in many flavors.
“Having a monthly payment model makes it easier for consumers,” said Kat Chung, digital director at Initiative. “It allows for unlimited access. Overall, it’s a great shift as it allows a lot of flexibility in consumer experience for what they’re paying.”
But there’s still a long way to go. Readers, so far, don’t seem to be thrilled with the new site. Todd Connelly, creative director at The Marketing Arm, tweeted, “Good job @dallasnews on making sure nobody ever visits your site again.” Angela Shah, editor of Xconomy, tweeted, “what happened to the @dallasnews site??!! very cluttered. no link to the business section?” And Rebecca Fuller tweeted, “@dallasnews I’ve used your website to keep updated for years. Now that you don’t support IE8 I will have to find another source. #BadForm”
Though some, like Don Maxwell, are happy that the site now has a premium offering. The Dallas Morning News put up a paywall in 2011, only to take it down as part of this new strategy. The Wall Street Journal and New York Times have seen success with their paywalls because they each have unique content and are national in scope. Brad Adgate, svp of research at Horizon Media, points out that if papers like the Washington Post have struggled with a paywall, it “just points out that there’s some concern that newspapers of lesser regions and scope to make it a sustainable model.
“It’ll be a tough sell,” said Adgate. “News is ubiquitous. They have to offer something unique to up their subscriber base. It’s not a great time to be in the print business.”
(Screengrab via Josh Benton.)
The Washington Post invests in climate coverage as its team expands to over 30 journalists
The Post's climate team continues to expand as the publisher makes big bets on the beat drawing younger audiences.
Inside one media company’s strategy to monetize the Fifa World Cup
Soccer media business Footballco has spent most of 2022 trying to make hay while the sun is shining.
Publishers continue to evaluate cost-cutting in Q4, with economic and budgetary pressures mounting
The wave of cost-cutting measures in Q3 is still flowing into Q4, with publishers under pressure to keep expenses down at a time of continuing economic uncertainty and budget planning.
SponsoredHow brands are measuring incremental performance on CTV
Connected TV is unique among other advertising channels because it combines linear television’s storytelling capabilities with digital marketing’s targeting and measurement. As more marketers leverage CTV advertisements to reach relevant and engaged audiences, they also want to understand the real value they are generating with their investment. Incrementality reporting and measurement allow advertisers to measure […]
Member ExclusiveMedia Briefing: Publishers’ Q3 earnings reports show promise, but not without sacrifice
Publishers' third quarter earning reports are in.
A new entrant in the data-driven linear TV measurement space aims to fill a gap left by Microsoft’s Xandr
As Xandr shuts down its Clypd platform, datafuelX's M3 SaaS product aims to solve some of the multi-currency, multi-platform problems with investing in convergent TV today.