Posts Tagged ‘News’

Mixed models: How micropayment can work with freemium

April 1, 2011

Note: The International Symposium on Online Journalism (ISOJ) is taking place right now in Austin, Texas.   Last year we unveiled our “Modified News Micropayment Model” at that very conference.  Panelists discussing paywalls today stressed the need for multiple business models.  I couldn’t agree more.  Now seemed like an appropriate time to write this post that I’ve been wanting to do for quite some time. Here goes.

When my colleague and I developed our “Modified News Micropayment Model” (now in press, International Journal on Media Management) we wrote that it was but one new business model for online news.  Our micropayment model not only could be, but should be, used in tandem with other digital business models.  With the launch of the New York Times’ “paywall,” the news industry’s focus has been on its tiered, metered approach.  Other smaller news organizations, such as Morris Communications’ Augusta Chronicle are following suit with similar metered approaches.

Such a freemium model, while promising, leaves out a valuable audience segment and is not without  flaws.  A micropayment system can address the flaws and fill in the gaps created by a freemium metered approach.  The good news is that micropayment can work with freemium.  Let me tell you how.

What metered approach is not

The metered approach is predicated on the old notion that news consumers will seek out the news they want to consume.  It relies on the newspaper website as a destination. The reader can have 20 free views when they come to the site. Of course, in today’s news ecosystem news often finds the reader rather than the reader finding the news.  Metered fails to capitalize on, use and harness the power of referral and sharing that takes place on the Social Web.

The existing metered approaches are also designed to get new digital subscribers.  With online content, there are a number of users who come to the site who are not in your market, who only want to read a few articles from your site (since it found them and they are not seeking out your site, brand or content) and who will never become a subscriber to your publication.  Micropayments allow for news organizations to capture some revenue from “one off” users.

Another downside to the prevailing freemium model is that it does not place a premium on valued content.

Freemium + Micropayment = Success?

Micropayment can be implemented to serve a variety of needs and in a variety of ways in tandem with freemium metered approaches:

1)Metered micropayment:  You can set benchmarks that would activate a switch toward micropayment per article.  For example, once an article that is free on your website reaches X number of pageviews, you can start to charge for that piece of content.  If a story happens to go viral, you can (literally) capitalize on the buzz and additional traffic.  John Paton, CEO of the Journal Register Co. has talked about the importance of news organizations stacking “digital dimes” and such a “metered micropayment” approach allows news organizations to monetize their most popular stories.

2)Exclusive, premium content:  You can be selective with the types of content you offer for free and the types of content users must (micro) pay for.  If your news organization offers exclusive, high quality premium (presumably hyperlocal) content that readers cannot get anywhere else, why not charge for it?  Implement a micropayment component for your most prized content.  The Augusta Chronicle offers a perfect example.  In just a few short days, The Masters golf tournament will roll into town.  The Chronicle owns that story because it is in their backyard.  Golf lovers who do not live in Augusta but want to read stories they can’t get elsewhere will likely (micro) pay for individual stories.

3)Social readers: Micropayments can serve a unique audience– users who do not want to subscribe to your newspaper.  This may be because they live out of the market.  This may be because they want to read a specific piece of content that found them (perhaps by the recommendation of a friend), not that they actively sought.  Micropayments work better as a monetization strategy for active Social readers, rather than destination-seeking Web viewers.

4)The one-off news event.  This is not an everyday event, but from time to time a breaking news story happens in your community that may attract regional, national or even international attention.  You may suddenly find foreign readers clamoring for your coverage.  Why not have a mechanism in place to make money off the increased traffic and attention your paper will receive if and when these “one-off” events find their way to your town?  Micropayment serves that need.

These are just a few examples.

The bottom line is that micropayments can work and work well with other approaches.  Thoughts?



The Future of Media

April 20, 2010

The future of media may well be in your hands.  I’m talking, of course, about mobile devices.

For a variety of reasons, consumers and businesses alike appreciate the new opportunities mobile either offers, or will offer, distributors and consumers of media content.

Mobile devices offer users personalization, portability and constant connectivity, the ability to socialize and share content, interactivity, participation, and engagement.  Mobile devices offer media distributors the ability to provide these features to users, but also the potential to provide unique, geo-targeted, local, community-focused, monetizable content for all of its clients (readers/viewers/listeners and advertisers).

With mobile devices poised to be a “game changer” for news and entertainment industries in the near future, there was little surprise that “mobile” was a focal point of discussions at the National Association of Broadcasters’ annual convention and the Broadcast Education Association conference, both held last week in Las Vegas, Nevada.

I attended many sessions where mobile was front and center.  Mobile offers exciting new areas for entertainment (Mobile DTV, smartphone apps), as well as newspapers, radio and television news, and for advertisers.

I’ll report a few highlights from some of the managerial-oriented sessions, where business models, monetization and strategy were key themes.

“The mobile device has the opportunity to reset the revenue models because the ability to do the transactions on a mobile device is very seamless, it’s very easy,” said Greg Philpott, president and founder of mDialog, which has built an ad platform to monetize HTML-5 videos.

Mobile gives individuals the ability to have their own screen wherever they are, Philpott said.

Mobile devices will allow content owners to charge advertisers a higher CPM that’s trackable, actionable and measurable, Philpott predicted.

Bob Hildeman, CEO of Streambox, said that said media outlets still face a challenge getting consumers willing to pay for content.

Media outlets are still grappling with how to do so, but many believe consumers are better conditioned to pay for content on their phone, than they are online.

“We’re growing this audience but we’re not monetizing it,” said Lance Richard, Entercom Communications’ vice president of digital sales for over 110 radio stations and their Web sites in 23 media markets. “We’ve got to figure that piece out… A lot of our focus is figuring out how to monetize that stream.”

Advertising revenue should grow on mobile devices, said Tom Kenney, president of Verve Wireless, which designs mobile news applications for many leading news agencies.

“Mobile advertising now is starting to take off,” Kenney said. ” The thesis behind Verve is that the mobile Web is a new medium and could potentially be the most important medium in a few years and ultimately it’s a local (emphasis mine) medium.”

The idea of consuming digital media with your hands is such a transformation from the norm that providing similar experiences on multiple platforms is going to be key for media outlets going forward, said Kinsey Wilson, senior vice president and general manager of digital media for the not-for-profit NPR.

NPR’s Web site won a  prestigious Peabody Award (housed at my University I might add!)  for general excellence this year and their app for the iPhone and iPad are constantly ranked by users as being one of the best smartphone apps for news.  Mobile devices allow for media outlets to strategically shift their offerings from platform to platform.  While NPR does offer live streams of their radio programs on the apps, written breaking news headlines are the most popular feature, Wilson said.

Overall, media outlets face a shifting environment in which smartphones will outpace the sales of desktops by 2011, according to IT firm Gartner.

Futurist Tomi Ahonen posits that mobile is the 7th medium following print, recordings, cinema, radio, TV, and Internet.

At the end of 2009, two thirds of the world’s population were using mobile phones, according to the European Information Technology Observatory.

There are now more mobile devices in the world than there are TVs, radios, and computers.

While there are many remaining questions about the mobile strategies media outlets will choose to implement, one thing is clear.  The future of media is one you can hold onto.

News/Journalism and Social Media Use

February 16, 2010

Favorite Tweets About News Outlets and Journalists Using Social Media


New blog post: I need journalists’ stories & tips on using Twitter. (W/help from @kateatlfpress & @billDinTO)


BBC to journos: use social media or leave.


The smart ones are. RT @graybs13 RT @UGAGrady RT @journalistics: Are journalists really on board with social media?


RT @journalistics: Are journalists really on-board with social media? What do you think?


Still true? 6 months ago, 75% Of NYTimes readers didn’t want journalists on Twitter. > via @Cheryl_Hilpert


Awesome new USA TODAY Twitter index page – over 100 feeds!


RT @Digidave:RT @rmack twttr is not killing journalism, journalists R killing journalism.thoughtful middle ground post:


Mashable: Slideshow on ‘the future journalist’ – what will they need? #journalism (RT @journalismnews)


Twitter friends, do you use Facebook to read news? RT @naoyamakino: Facebook Is Already The World’s Largest News Reader


Bloggingheads: @susanorlean & @kbandersen talk about writers on Twitter. –


For my students experimenting with Twitter this weekend, two interesting perspectives: and #j349


I mostly follow people interested in journalism. Here’s what they link to in tweets (note sources)


Guardian’s Zeitgeist shows stories based on social mentions, where people come/go, time on page etc. via @earleyedition


Radio Television Digital News Association’s “Social Media & Blogging Guidelines” are worth bookmarking via @lostremote


For the next 2 weeks, The Independent will be live tweeting all day, every day. See what they’ve learned so far


RT @crindalyn: From my blog: Essential tools for mobile journalists who can’t afford iPhones: /via @John_Tedesco


If you have a sec, I would love to get your input on the Storystreamr platform that I submitted to #knc10 >


RT @ashantionette @Twitter_Tip Should journalists mix personal with professional tweets? via @ashweig @digiphiled


Las Vegas Sun – what the hell happened there?


RT @journalistics: Majority of Journalists Now Depend on Social Media:


INTERESTING USE : 1st newspaper uses Foursquare; followers get phone alerts near stories : (RT @Poynter / @lostremote)


RT @UGAGrady: RT @DanSchawbel: 84% of Journalists Say Social Media Sources Less Reliable Than Traditional Sources.


News sourcing experiment to rely solely on Facebook, tweets via @slashdot


Online Newspaper Audience Dropping; Older Consumers Move to Social Media via @smalljones @communitygirl @mediatwo_social


New research finds that “newspapers offer more depth, insight than do major online sites” >>> (NRJ)


Results for a social media usage survey taken by print and web journalists:


NEW Hot Topic >>> Foursquare, journalism, and a sense of place via @jlittau

themediaisdying Jarvis on entrepreneurial journalism #journ (RT @journalismnews)


Just Two in Five Americans Read Newspaper Daily per Harris Interactive :


RT @journalistics: Most News Still Comes from Traditional Sources:


RT @knightfdn: 24 ideas have won $4.3 million in funding in the 2nd round of the Community Information Challenge:


RT @therealmfb Why newspapers should host blogs. (Scripting News) #journalism

suzanneyada chat now! Topic: HuffPo is going to be aggregating college news. Reaction?


Congrats to Lauren McCullough (@lfmccullough) who gets to head up Associated Press’ social media efforts :


New post: Earning the i in journalism: Building credibility brick by brick helps us better understand its value.


AGREE? Michael Kinsley: Newspapers are failing because articles are too long : (RT @cyberjournalist) @jeffjarvis


RT @stacyannj: I lk it! RT @iwantmedia: US 2day retools its Web site w/ eye on social media such as blogs & daily polls


Just took a quick glance. This looks like another good one. RT @richardkendall: A local journalists Twitter guide: 7 minutes ago from UberTwitter