Tag Archives: journalism

The NYT Paywall Is Working — It’s Keeping People Out

We’re still in the early days of the New York Times paywall, but traffic-measurement firm Hitwise already has some numbers on how the subscription plan has affected the newspaper’s readership. The bottom line? The Times has seen a drop of between 5 and 15 percent in daily readers. That may not seem like much — especially compared with the falloff at some other papers that have implemented more restrictive paywalls — but 15 percent is still a fairly significant decline. And there are signs in the Hitwise data that the NYT may not have fine-tuned its wall as well as it might have hoped, which could have an impact on the long-term health of the subscription strategy.

Careful what you wish for.

The Google Loophole Has Become The Facebook/Twitter Loophole [TechCrunch]

It’s a trick that most web-savvy news consumers know. Is a WSJ article behind a paywall? Just Google the title of it. Click on the resulting link and boom, free access to the entire thing. No questions asked. This new NYT model is taking that idea and flipping it.

The Google loophole will still be in play — but only for five articles a day. It’s not clear how they’re going to monitor this (cookies? logins?), but let’s assume for now that somehow they’ll be able to in an effective way. For most readers, the five article limit will likely be more than enough. But that’s not the important thing. What’s interesting is that the NYT appears to be saying two things. First, this action says that spreading virally on social networks like Twitter and Facebook is more important to them than the resulting traffic from Google. And second, this is a strategic bet that they likely believe will result in the most vocal people on the web being less pissed off.

Why even erect the damn thing in the first place? I guess they’re trying to really just charge the long tail of users, resigning themselves to give their content away for free the vast majority of previously paying customers, and make their profit on – essentially – residuals.

It’s totally the opposite of the standard business model, but there’s a lot of that going around these days, isn’t there?

New York Times Agrees To Apple Terms For Paywall Plans | Peter Kafka

The New York Times has finally unveiled its paywall plans, a year-plus in the making.

And with the Times’ announcement, Steve Jobs gets his first big publisher to announce it is signing on with his new subscription plan: The Times says it will sell access to the paper’s apps through iTunes, on Jobs’ new terms.

As for the packages themselves: As predicted, they hover around the $20-a-month mark, starting at $15 a month for Web + phone access, up to $35 a month for all-you-can-eat on every platform.

Crucially, the plan gives free access to all platforms for subscribers who get the Times delivered, in paper and ink format, to their homes. Those subscribers, for now, are the papers’ most treasured resource, and it wants to hang on to them for as long as it can.

Not coincidentally, the cheapest way to get the most access to the paper continues to be a print subscription, at least for new subscribers, and at least for now. (Thanks for the reminder, Ari Weinberg)

The last point is particularly interesting. The NYT is in a fantastically lucky place, in terms of being able to leverage threir literary celebrity to brazenly declare what was free suddenly off-limits, by erecting a toll booth in front of the communal trough. It takes balls, and I respect their decision, because I think they do deserve it.

But how interesting to find that part of their plan all along has been to price the digital media packages above the price of the print subscription, then make the more expensive service a ‘free feature’ of the other one!

They’ve just found the surest way to get newspapers back into houses that no one’s ever heard of. If this is just being unveiled, I imagine we’re in on the ground floor of a very cleverly designed transmedia campaign to get households back to see newspapers and especially the NYT as still relevant in the digital age.

I do think there is a market of 20 somethings that would suddenly look to getting their very own first print subscriptions…!

Kudos to NYT.

New York Times Explains Its Paywall Subscription

New York Times

After years of discussion the New York Times finally announced its long-awaited paywall subscription plan this morning at the annual State of the Times meeting with employees.

  • The NYT.com audience attracts 48.5 million monthly users worldwide vs. 876,638 daily print subscribers and 1.35 million Sunday subscribers.
  • NYT mobile web apps generated 111 million page views in February.  And there has been 1.6million downloads of Time apps.
  • The change will primarily affect heavy users of the NYT as such advertisers will be able to reach users who have demonstrated affinity to NYT.
  • Readers will get unlimited access to homepage, section fronts and blog fronts and reader contributions and listings and search results pages.

 

Seeing the Japan disaster: citizentube’s Channel

This is what socialmedia is all about. I LOVE citizentube. This is the real thing, the most important aspect of our new media culture, sharing with each other in real time. I’m not checking my newspaper or even switching on some television news, I’m here with Twitter, finding out about the horrible Japan story as its happening. But even Twitter, the excellent service that it is, can never match the power of video.And there’s a reason news networks will never be as responsive or as authentic as actual citizen journalism.

Watch these videos (same link), and you will know what it was like to be there. Youtube has achannel that just autoplays through a playlist of unbelieveable footage of the crisis.  I LOVE SOCIAL MEDIA!

Notice that the video from inside CNN headquarters looks exactly like the videos shot by everyone else.

Mubarak Stepping Down Amidst Groundbreaking Digital Revolution

The events in Egypt served as a flash point for journalists on the ground, too. For perhaps one of the first times in history, history itself has been recorded instantaneously, as reporters took to Twitter to share 140-character updates and personal stories from the protests. The messages provided a stark reality to readers in the outside world, especially as the protests turned violent and police turned on journalists — the very people many of us outside the country were following.

But Al Jazeera had its “CNN Moment,” and although it couldn’t reach viewers in the U.S. by cable television, it found a way to viewers — on YouTube. The network live streamed Mubarak’s public address — in which many believed he would resign — Thursday via YouTube. But Al Jazeera’s comprehensive coverage put it on the radar for U.S. viewers and it created a campaign to bring its English-language network to U.S. televisions.

I’ll go out on a limb: Bringing Al Jazeera to US cable networks is the single most important act Americans can authorize to bring an end to terrorism. Yes, the flow of communication across the world, and the media and cultural perspectives attached (embedded, even) to it, are impossible to overestimate. Hatred, and violence stem from ignorance, and sharing information and life experience with people from other cultures is the single best way to do that.

We Have A New Uber Boss, And She’s Greek: Aol Buys HuffPo For $315 Million

You know who won the Super Bowl? Arianna Huffington.  This afternoon our parent company Aol bought Huffington Post for $315 million according to a press release. Gah.

To all of you making HuffingtonCrunch and Crunchington Post jokes, Huffington’s official title will be Editor In Chief in charge of all Aol properties, including Engadget, Urlesque and yes us. Welcome to the family, Arianna.

Looks like AOL still has some life left in it.

MediaShift . Social Media, Facebook Help People Stand Up in Tunisia, Egypt | PBS

For roughly a week now, the journalists and bloggers spreading information about the situation in Egypt have been harassed been by the military. Yesterday and today saw the worst outbreak of violence against journalists yet, as evidenced by this video of CNN’s Anderson Cooper and crew being attacked by a crowd:

Plus, CNN, BBC, Al Jazeera, Al-Arabiya and ABC News staffers were attacked too. As of this morning, reports have been flowing on Twitter and in the mainstream press that journalists are being detained by the regime, while the physical attacks on them continue in streets and hotels.

The video is pretty terrible, but the reality that even our most respected and watched TV celebrities are not immune to political unrest. This article is a great analysis of the conflict in Egypt, and the democratizing power of social media.

I Worked on the AOL Content Farm & It Changed My Life

AOL’s secret internal plan to ramp up its online content business was leaked today to New York business blog Business Insider and people are saying it’s got “content farm” written all over it. In-house writers are expected to write 5 to 10 blog posts per day and those stories are expected to go from an average of 1500 pageviews per post today to an amazing 7000 views per post in the future. How will stories be selected? The only thing that will matter, apparently, is search engine friendliness and monetization potential. That might sound terrible to outsiders, but having been there I want to say: Good luck AOL, I hope that strategy works wonderfully for you. I genuinely do.

I’m not sure why this surprises anyone. AOL was long ago bought out and gutted by ruthless corporate interests. SEO and low-hurdle content farm writing are the natural end-game moves of a struggling corporate behemoth that doesn’t really understand its market. The sad fact is there is a weird “beige market” created for this crap that no one wants, but still exists to farm mislabeled clicks and deceptive titles into pennies per transaction – yet pennies which, in scale, make billions.