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Posts Tagged ‘Newspaper Association of America’

I am no less tired of paywall arguments than I was when I sort of swore off them for a while in December. But I agreed to be on a paywall panel tomorrow at the International Journalism Festival in Perugia, Italy. So maybe it’s time to update my observations about paywalls.

My basic view about paywalls hasn’t changed since I wrote any of the pieces I cite at the end of this post. All those pieces and this one come down to this: The potential revenue paywalls will yield isn’t worth the damage they cause. And they cause twofold damage:

  1. They divert energy and investment from development of forward-looking revenue streams with far greater potential.
  2. They limit your audience, especially among the young adults on which any business of the future must be based.

My update is simply to share some new information that underscores (again) those points. But I’ll add this point in the international context: I don’t pretend to understand the market dynamics or cultural factors that might influence the success of paywalls in other nations. My views apply strongly to the U.S. market and culture and to a large extent as well to the Canadian market and culture. My experience and expertise beyond those countries is minimal.

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I offer sincere congratulations and best wishes to Drew Davis, who is retiring after eight years as president of the American Press Institute.

When Drew scheduled an interview with me in February 2005, I presumed it was just a courtesy interview: he scheduled me for only an hour.

The interview came at my initiative. I heard through a friend at API that Drew was going to be hiring someone to direct “tailored programs” (customized training and consulting for specific organizations). I had been a discussion leader for four API seminars, but had never met Drew. I started going to API seminars before he took over as president. And when I was in Reston, Va., for a seminar, he was always traveling. And one of the seminars I helped with was in Pomona, Calif.

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A number jumped out at me in the Pew report Americans and their Gadgets: 58 percent of Americans 65 and older own cell phones.

That made sense to me. My mother is 83 years old and has Alzheimer’s disease and a cell phone is her only phone. It’s not a smart phone and I know better than to text her or leave her a voice mail, but we talk on it frequently (well, not as frequently as we should, but that’s my fault).

I wondered whether newspaper readership among older Americans was higher than 58 percent. (more…)

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A common lament about efforts to develop new business models for news is that digital journalism can’t generate the revenue that newspapers used to.

Let’s set aside that digital journalism doesn’t have the production and distribution costs of newspapers. Let’s set aside that news media companies have barely started to explore the revenue possibilities of direct sales, local search and other possibilities I explored in explaining the revenue approach of my Blueprint for the Complete Community Connection.

In advertising alone, opportunities loom as promising as the revenue streams that historically supported newspapers. (more…)

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Secret is as secret does. 

When I first wrote about Thursday’s NAA meeting of newspaper executives, I had to confess I didn’t actually know what was happening, but was writing based on some blogs that were mostly based on speculation or rumor or on the agenda for the meeting, which James Warren of The Atlantic obtained. After some off-the-record emails and a phone call and after reading Editor & Publisher’s two accounts of the meeting, I know more about what was discussed there. My basic views remain unchanged: The meeting was misguided and newspaper executives’ heavy focus on paid content as a way of protecting the print product is wasting time and energy that we shoud focus on more productive innovative solutions.  (more…)

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I hope the newspaper tycoons meeting secretly in Chicago this week come up with a clap-your-hands plan.

Because clapping our hands to save the newspaper industry, like we saved Tinkerbell at the movies when we were children, has more chance of succeeding than the paid-content-cartel approach that newspaper executives are dreaming and talking about but being careful not to conspire about. (more…)

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Newspapers need to move into the future and stop clinging to the past.

Two bloggers I respect greatly, Tim McGuire and Alan Mutter, blogged favorably this week about efforts to force Google to pay for linking to content from newspaper web sites. Because I respect both of these men and consider McGuire a friend, I read each blog again and considered what they had to say. Reluctantly, I say they both are mistaken.

I don’t claim that I or my company have the solutions for how to move forward into a prosperous future. But I am sure that the future lies in moving forward, not back. I’m glad our company is seeking solutions by looking forward. I think the business success equation that Chuck Peters has identified, Success = Attention x Trust x Convenience, is on the right track. And charging for content will harm each of the factors leading to success. (more…)

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