Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Paywall drives sales for Newport Daily News

Back in June I blogged some thoughts about newspapers, paywalls and and online subscriptions, with the conclusion that regional newspapers, in my view, were some way off being able to charge for content.

The post was the result of some research I'd been doing around linked questions, and as part of my wander through the online industry experts and observers I discovered that the Newport Daily News had decided to start charging a lot for the privilege of accessing its news online.

The paper's argument was that it was undermining its own product with a free online offering. So it set out to make the online option much less attractive, and something you wouldn't pay for unless you had no other option. A year-long annual online subscription to the Daily News was set at £345, while a print subscription was £200.

This was a concept I found interesting, and I figured it was worth keeping an eye on. It definitely was; the latest figures show the Daily News is, according to Newsweek, now selling an extra 200 copies a day.
William F. Lucey III, assistant publisher and general manager, said the Daily News, which has a circulation of 13,000 has seen a significant gain in its print sales, despite poor weather (every editor knows rain is one of the biggest triggers of a sharp sales drop off).

Of course, the famously monied Newport yachting set isn't typical, and the Daily News has all jumpers-tied-around-shoulders types over a barrel when it comes to online subscriptions; if they want to read what's going on in their spiritual home they have to be prepared to pay for it. Not something too many other papers could rely on. But it does go to show, when people have no other option they will pay for information they want badly enough.
It appears that, in the historic home of yachting, the Daily News has discovered the truth of Bertha Calloway's observation: "We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails".


Pic: Stp243
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