Paidcontent considers charging for access

Guardian Media Group’s Paidcontent blog is taking a look at charging readers for access to its site. It has put out a survey with suggested pricing of $399 (£249) a year.

The survey says “ContentNext media (parent of PaidContent.org) is considering moving over to a new Premium Subscription Service for their publications. As you currently use paidContent.co.uk, we would like to understand your opinions on our new service.”

We’ve already seen moves in the B2B sector with the likes of Emap starting its paywall moves last year but if PaidContent moves ahead with its plans that would make it one of the first blogs in this market to implement a premium content strategy.

The questions on the survey indicate it is looking like a lot of publishers at several options for the US blog PaidContent and PaidContentUK. These  include a single user $399 price but also “access to unlimited articles (old and new) for $1499/£939 per year for a ten user licenses”, which would work out at £93 a pop.

 

 

 

What’s also very  interesting is how it is looking to tie a premium service in with a paid for mobile service indicating it would ideally like to launch a complete paid for online and mobile service with an app price of $9.99 of £6.29.

 

 

 


 

This could be interesting. Last week a number of people said to me they disagreed with what I wrote in response to (what I considered at least) an overly pessimistic report from Ovum.

It was saying that pay wall experiments by traditional media in 2010 “are virtually guaranteed to produce more corpses than successes”.

I’m thinking less corpses and more paid content initiatives that are tweaked and adapted in the response to the market.

I think it is too early to make such pessimistic calls and activity by the likes of ContentNext, which GMG bought for around $6.5m, is indicative of that as it strikes me that if sources of information like these suddenly put up pay walls it will deprive people of some very useful material.

That said going it alone and with a price of almost £250 is a hefty price to subscribe to a blog and I wonder how hard a sell it would be to get people to pay that much in such a competitive market?

Just take a look at the rival list of sites PaidContent refers to in its question about rival digital media that its users might also look at, its legion: Allthingsd.com, Brandrepublic.com, Businessinsider.com/alleyinsider, contentSutra.com, Engadget.com, Mediaweek.co.uk, NewMediaAge, Poynter.org/Romenesko, Readwriteweb.com, Strategyeye.com, Techcrunch.com and Venturebeat.com to name a few.

Haymarket and Brand Republic is right in there and these conversations are no doubt taking place upstairs somewhere.

Like I said not sure about the price, but there is definitely a price, which is what the New York Times has worked out this week as well and I have to say on that front I think the NYTimes.com got it right.

You’ll still get some articles free each month, but if you are a heavy NY Times.com visitor then you will find yourself paying. That’s pretty democratic and I can see that working for a lot of people.

I’d much prefer that idea to a great big keep out style pay wall like the one Rupert Murdoch is rumoured to be ready to put in place shortly at The Times in London.

Talking of Murdoch the ripples in his media pond (okay it’s more a lake) relating to paid content are spreading quickly outwards and last week (in case you missed it) The Standard-Times in New Bedford, Massachusetts, started charging readers for access to its website. Users are getting 10 stories a month for free but after that you have to pay.

Anyway, looking back at PaidContent as it thinks very loud about its pay wall plans news of this comes on the same day it reports that the latest of the Emap titles to go paid is Construction News (can they build it? you’d hope so). It follows Retail Week in November and will cost you £129 with a print subscription. Seems reasonable.

 

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  • http://www.penmaen-media.co.uk Carolyn Morgan

    Very interesting development. As a heavy reader of paid content, though, I’m a bit taken aback by the pricing. Although they cover the ground well, most articles are also available here on brand republic, or in media guardian, which are free, so it’s tempting to just divert to new sources. Even in a b2b environment, it’s hard to charge for news; easier to ask people to pay for reports and surveys. Think econsultancy has a good balance: their blog and news are free, but you have to pay to get their indepth reports. I wrote about this split between free and paid content here: http://www.penmaen-media.co.uk/index.php/2009/10/how-to-build-an-online-paid-content-strategy/

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