The Paywall that couldn’t save the Newspaper Industry

Just to be clear, where I was coming from on the walled garden comment.

Newspaper websites make most of their money based on pageviews as well as how many unique visitors they get. A paywall would significantly reduce those numbers.

Online subscribers revenue will never grow or offset what papers have already lost. The strategy behind paywalls are often about retention of print subscribers more then it is new online revenue. In my opinion the amount of money that will come from subscribers online will not offset what is lost from the reduction in page views.

With the growing number of quality (neighborhood) bloggers, the use of location aware news services that are already starting to spring up. Then look at growing number of local competitors and sites like (AOL owned) This equals more and more places to find local content that might be “good enough”.

A good percentage of newspaper traffic comes from search (Sometime as much as half). More and more people start their search for news at google, msn or yahoo. One of the reasons is Newspapers have always had very poor search engines. The engines are already ranking AP and twitter very high. Soon they will start surfacing geo located news.

Yahoo is has received some slack from their Newspaper partners because they have been ranking Facebook content higher.  A major unnamed search engine is threatening to rank Pay wall news content much lower. It would take every newspaper in the country to bind together and fight this search engine. Hell will freeze over before you get all newspapers to agree.

All of these combined make me a scary fight against paid content. I do think there are paid strategies that will work but not the ones I’m hearing discussed.


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