Paywall 2.0: Rationing Immediacy of Access to Drive Newspaper Subscriptions Rather Than Quantity

Here is my suggestion for those in the Newspaper industry mulling over new revenue models. Firstly forget about charging for News. It is a commodity. Try to make money off the ads surrounding the news. Analysis however is different. Some newspapers, such as the Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal attempt to drive subscription revenue by rationing either the length or the quantity of free articles. However, there is another dimension that can be rationed, that I believe is more appropriate. That is immediacy of access.
It could work like this. Step 1. When a punter comes to a newspaper website and wishes to see an analysis piece, display a portion, say 25% of the article without asking for an email address. Step 2, if they wish to see the remainder, ask for an email address and display it. Step 3, if they wish to see another article, display the initial 25% but this time, when they ask to see the remainder, invite them to subscribe but tell them that they will receive an email link to the article for free, say five minutes later. Step 4, if they ask to see other articles in a defined period of time, repeat the process with ever lengthening time intervals. At some point, the user will decide that not waiting an hour or two for access is worth the price of the paper.
The beauty of this approach is that it overcomes the problem of newspapers hiding their light behind a bushel. The best advertising for the quality of the analysis in an article, is of course the article itself. The pay first, look at the quality later approach, is self defeating. A newspaper has to rely only on the quality of its brand (or a convoluted free trial period) to entice usage. With this approach, the article is always available to the user, albeit time delayed, so the user does not moan about paywalls, and gets to appreciate that quality analysis has a value.
A value that should be paid for.
Considering that most other models have not worked, it might be worth a shot.
Shane
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About sjkhayes
Exploring the best tools and methods for SAP implementations.

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