Wednesday, September 16, 2009

McClatchy newspaper planning to charge for web content?

The executive editor of The Sun Herald in Mississippi says his paper is studying the feasibility of charging for web content.

Stan Tiner, executive editor of The Sun Herald in Biloxi, Miss., makes no bones about the value of the online product, bragging that his paper is the top news source for his circulation area. "We probably provide 90% of the information that is consumed from this part of the world," he says, adding that print readers often ask him, "why are you giving it away on the Web?"

While specific plans are yet to be unveiled at Tiner's paper, he contends local news and in-depth reporting could prompt a pay-per-view type of charge. "I would worry a little bit about making it a complicated menu," he says. "Say if you wanted to buy any of the Sun Herald Web site, you can buy all of it or a small chunk of it." He cites an example of a big story such as a major crime or tragedy: "You could go in every day and pay, say, 50 cents [for all of the paper's content], or break it off and buy everything on [one] story for less. You could just get all of the coverage of that story."

I don't see much of a future in charging readers for web content. Papers that have started charging for web content have found the number of people who pay is pretty small.


Anonymous said...

First, how can they charge for what they refuse to print (ACORN)?

But, should they ever print news like this, instead of DNC talking points, I'd give the bums a few cents.

Iraqi shoe thrower killed by US troops! (Guess the shoe was just practice)Breitbart

An Iraqi man who witnesses said shouted abuse before throwing a shoe at a US army vehicle was shot dead on Wednesday in what the American military said was a suspected grenade attack

Anonymous said...

Good luck with this idea.

Thousands of conservative readers dropped their subscriptions to the Sacramento Bee. Why pay for a biased, left leaning paper, and get upset, when you can read it for free online and get upset.

Why would McClatchy think that these same people are going to pay for the same biased news online?

If McClatchy wants to sell a "news" paper, then give the people something they will buy.

In print, or online, people would buy a paper that leans neither left nor right, but rather prints both sides of an issue fairly.

It's simple economics, supply and demand.

Anonymous said...

Libs won't pay. They lie and are cheap

Anonymous said...

If you think about it, there's a large body of online readers, who just read newspaper websites to check in with their most hated news outlet.

Then, they re-post the offensive articles , so that similar focused people can join in the criticism.

None of those readers would pay the publishers they hate so much.

Anonymous said...

Why would anyone pay for lies?

Anonymous said...

My guess is sports fans would pay for daily blog updates on NFL, NBA and MLB team news. The Sac Bee has great Kings and 49ers beat guys.
Some political junkies might pay for state news, along with state workers in Sacramento and other state capitals. The Sac Bee has a very good state worker blogger.
Bottomline: If you're the rare reporter who can actually report on a beat of big interest, there's a market for breaking news. But there's not many beats that would command a monthly or seasonal charge. Too much information already out on the web and for free.

Anonymous said...

If McClatchy newspapers or any others start charging for online content, they will give TV stations in many markets an upper hand. Newspapers don't get it. People read newspapers' Web sites *because* the content is free, not because the newspapers are No. 1 source of information in their market.

So much of what you read on many newspaper Web sites (small to mid-sized ones such as Biloxi, for example) is from the Associated Press, probably produced by the very newspapers that are going to charge for the content. Many newspaper Web sites regurgitate content from other newspapers, TV and radio stations in the state. You can get that anywhere. Why would you want to pay for the paper online?

Yeah, yeah, for the photos. For the online databases. But TV stations have cornered many markets asking for breaking-news viewer photos. And databases nowadays aren't rocket science.

And, yes, maybe they'd pay for premium sports coverage (as 5:09 posted as I was writing this). But you can get that a lot of places, including TV.

People want to know what's going on *now* (weather, traffic, crime, etc.) They *should* turn to TV station Web sites because they excel at that. If TV stations concentrate more on crime and weird news, they cut into newspapers even more. If TV stations allow commenting (and many do), all the more reason for people to jettison newspapers.

Now, if McClatchy newspapers turned their registration threshold into a pay one, maybe some would bite. Then they could still get the occasional (and worthless) traffic bump from a Yahoo or a Drudge linking (so the one-time visitors wouldn't have to pay) and concentrate on stanching the flow of traffic from print and online.

Or newspapers could charge for the content you'd read in the paper, but not for breaking news and such. Still, it's not going to save newspapers.

Anonymous said...

A great discussion about the delusion newspapers have about traffic and paywalls here:

Anonymous said...

Newspapers should not charge for content for many of the reasons mentioned by 5:18. A very thoughtful and accurate post.

Instead newspapers should put their efforts into tagging and tracking the use of their content as the Associated Press is doing. They should be tagging and tracking how their content is used online to assure compliance with terms of use.

The AP's system will register key identifying information about each piece of content as well as the terms of use of that content, and employ a built-in beacon to notify AP about how the content is used. When a site or a blog does not use the content correctly you let them know about it and have them display the content correctly which is generally a headline and a brief summary that links to the originating site.

Anonymous said...

By all means, you leftist idiots just try and charge. I beg you, do it for the children. Full steam ahead and take no prisoners. We'll flush when you're done.

Anonymous said...


Might be a bit apocalyptic, but (and this'll make you anti-Bee folks happy), the conclusion of this article:

"So, unfortunately, the new optimism is a facade. As far as the Bee is concerned, my prediction is that the paper will soon cease publishing a daily newsprint product distributed throughout the region."

Anonymous said...

Also from the same source of the story above:

Anonymous said...

For those that think that the newspaper isn't the only source in town you are right, but you know what, they are the primary source.

EVERY local TV station here in town (3 of them) base their early morning newscast on what is in the paper (and they give credit to it).

If the paper didn't exist the newstations would have to staff around the clock in order to come up with stuff to report on

Anonymous said...

But, you see, many TV stations do staff more hours than newspapers. TV stations have early morning newscasts. They have to have ambulance and fire crew chasing overnight crews for that very purpose. And as much as you want to believe that people are reading newspapers for windy prose, they're really reading it for the crime news and the occasional corrupt politician story.

Newspapers still staff with a print mindset, with a nod for that spike in the morning when people turn on their computers at work and get the paper for free. Yes, get the paper for free, thusly bringing this argument back to the original point: Charge for online access and TV stations will be handed a golden opportunity on the Web, especially if the newspaper has a tenuous grasp on the market anyway.