If you’re an avid reader of online news, you may have heard of the practice of charging for it. In the US, this is relatively common, but it’s much more widespread in rich countries. This article explains why it isn’t a “silver bullet” for publishers, and why it should be used only in limited circumstances. It focuses on behavioural, rather than self-reported, data.
Paying for online news is relatively common in the US
In most countries, the number of people who pay for online news is still in the single digits. That’s not a bad thing, especially considering that more people are opting to read print newspapers instead of paying for online news. However, while paying for online news is becoming more common, it’s not yet mainstream in the US. The trend is likely to continue. The question is: how can people find news online that is free and still worth the money?
It is not a “silver bullet” for all publishers
Some publishers are looking for a “silver bullet” in order to sustain their operations. Some are trying to break into the online advertising market by offering paid subscriptions, but it’s not going to happen overnight. In fact, it’s unlikely that they’ll ever reach the level of profitability that they had in the glory days of the TV networks. Others are turning to community-funded journalism, Check out the post right here.
It rewards subject matter experts
In an age when American news is on the decline, some online platforms are rewarding subject matter experts by paying them to write about their subjects. Tiny Letter, a free newsletter service created by one operator, and Subtext, a platform that allows journalists to create subscription text services, are just a couple of examples. Subtext has also helped grow the online news industry by allowing journalists to get paid by fans.
It offers compensation for journalists
With the decline in the number of publications, news outlets and the pandemic, it offers compensation for journalists to provide their expertise on a wide variety of subjects. Some online platforms, like Tiny Letter, have become a popular resource for single operator newsletters, and subscription text services such as Subtext enable writers to make more money. Other platforms, such as Patreon, allow fans to support writers through recurring donations. In some cases, such compensation can be a good way to encourage writers to create more content and expand their audience.