One newspaper wakes up
FREE does not pay

U.S. publishers are waking up. Instead of listening to the techno geeks who advised giving content away online, rather than previews (like movie trailers) that wizened marketing counsel advocated, publishers are beginning to wake up. Free does not pay!

According to the journalism trade magazine Editor & Publisher, Denver Post Publisher William Dean Singleton and President Jodi Lodovic recently announced “a plan to provide less print content on the Web for free and differentiate Web site news from the print product.”

The memo from The Denver Post (yes, wrote for them) says it is a disservice to readers who pay the newsprint price and revenues from online are not where they should be. I predicted that in 1994 when I was working on an MCI Internet project when MCI owned the backbone of the Internet. That is literal, not figurative.

“We will begin to move away from putting all of our newspaper content online for free,” the Post memo said. That’s a brilliant marketing strategy. Why did this largest of papers in the Rocky Mountain region wait more than eight years to take this stance? When will others wise up?

“Instead, we will explore a variety of premium offerings that apply real value to our print content. We are not trying to invent new premium products, but instead tell our existing print readers that what they are buying has real value, and to our online audience (who don't buy the print edition), that if you want access to all online content, you are going to have to register, and/or pay.”

Can I buy a movie that opens in movie theaters online the day it opens? My daughter says so but I haven’t found it. Can I use a computer from the computer store for a week without buying it?

When is the news media (magazines included) going to wake up and realize it is not just their right, but obligation, to make a profit.

I believe it was the Boston Globe editorial staff that said they would not take input from its marketing staff on what readers want to read. That’s another intelligent business decision. Not supplying your customers with what they want but dictating what they will have.

Media needs to pull the plug immediately, not in steps, on free content online. The Arizona Guardian. an outstanding online news source, gives previews; but to get the story, you need to sign up with your credit card. Same with O’Dwyer PR.