brianstorms

« Previous | Next »

Group Paying Model for Online Newspapers?

When I think about having to fork out money to get the NYTimes, or any other online paper, I don't relish the idea. But I expect paywalls are coming.

One scenario I have been thinking about that makes the whole idea of online news subscriptions less unpleasant to think about is as follows: I'd like to see newspapers like the New York Times and others to adopt a kind of "Profiles" feature that Netflix offers, which lets the account holder create "sub-accounts" under the same membership plan. (Plus, Netflix offers a "Friends List" feature for sharing video faves among friends, a feature that has definite applicability in the online news context.)

Surely the typical family household situation -- at least for households that still subscribe to a physical newspaper -- is that the paper is read by more than one member of the household. So too at the workplace -- the papers and magazines get passed around.

And yet, the online newspaper paywall model seems to presuppose that it's one account, one credit card, one user ID.

Why not a Profiles option?

But why stop at family members? I wonder if there is a model where you could get in on a "group buy" for, say, the NY Times web and iPad edition. Say, up to five people can group buy a subscription. And maybe the billing gets rotated to each member every five months. So instead of paying say $15 a month (or $180/yr) per person, you pay $15 every N months where N is the number of people in the group. Might mean only $30 a year and you get the whole paper!

Now, you might say, that's crazy, why would a newspaper go for such a model? Well, why not? If they get 5x the subscribers that they might otherwise get, they get the revenue PLUS they get a lot more eyeballs for ads. Everyone wins.

Thinking of posting a comment to this blog entry? That's nice. But please note: As of January 19. 2014, I no longer review comments. So they will never appear. So don't bother. If you want to comment on something you read here, go to twitter and write your comment there and just include "@brianstorms" in the tweet. I am no longer moderating the comments here; I just assume everything is spam and Intense Debate seems to have abandoned support for its product.

« Previous | Next »