Monday, October 5, 2015

Digital news service needs subscribers

A hard lesson learnt these last few years by the digital news operatives is that advertising is not the solution to finance an ambitious news service. This is why, Facebook offer of advanced articles from legacy media is well received by powerful newspapers such as the NYT or the Guardian who prefer to share advertising with the huge social network rather than trying a hopeless competition with it.

Still, there is nothing better than a loyal population of subscribers. To attract them, many media have tried a counter rule. Once you have read 10 articles during the month, you must subscribe if you want to read more. The NYT, the New Yorker or, in France, le Monde or le Figaro have used this system with some success.

However, the Finacial Times is working on a new kind of offer: if you want to try the FT, you can subscribe for one month, for 1 euro and then, if you re convinced with the quality, you will subscribe for the year, at a normal rate. The Washnington Post is going the same way with an offer of 19.99 dollars for the first year.

The FT considers that it is important to keep a readership  for the full publication and not for scattered articles you can also get on Twitter or Facebook. It is an intersting effort to justify the existence of a proper media, with its various chronicles while the users tend to pick up pieces of news all over the Web. The last figures show that the FT strategy works but one must never forget that people are willing to pay only for top quality. The news digital services are under tough darwinian laws.