Journalism Online Offers Alternative To Pay Wall


With Newsweek NewsDay about to begin charging access to their online articles via a pay wall, we’re beginning to wonder if there is any other alternative for print publications to make money off the web. Obviously, ads aren’t cutting it, and if you aren’t charging readers access, then you’re giving your content away.

Journalism Online – a new media consulting agency formed by media gurus Steven Brill, Gordon Crovitz, and Leo Hindery, Jr – is offering what might be the best solution yet to this problem: In the next month or so, 10-15 publishers will roll out the media consulting site’s pay model, which involves a gradual, not abrupt, dip into the charging-for-content sector.

Poynter Online, outlines Journalism Online’s Reader Revenue Platform, which offers several different features that users could pay for:

* High Activity Pay Points: Users can view a certain number of articles within a particular time period.
* Selected Content Pay Points: Some content is free, other content is paid.
* Time-Based Pay Points: For a particular time period after content is published, it’s available for a fee; later, it’s free. (This method sounds like a consumer version of the Associated Press’ proposal to charge search engines a premium for the most immediate news, which my colleague Bill Mitchell wrote about.)
* Enhanced Service Pay Points: Users pay for more frequent updates, access to commenting systems, tools to share content or other services.
* Market Access Pay Points: Users pay based on where they are. International users may pay because their traffic doesn’t help sell advertising, for instance.
* Preview Activity Pay Points: A certain amount of an article is available for free; an additional amount costs.

Users can also choose how to pay: A monthly subscription, a per-basis charge, print/online bundles, ect. By offering so many choices at varying monetary levels, users will hopefully feel like they aren’t being bullied into paying for previously free content. Another added bonus is that aggregators who benefit off of pay walls by reprinting and getting the pageviews for whole articles that a publication tries to charge for, will offer less of an incentive when what a consumer is paying for isn’t the content per say, but their relationship with it.

To be sure, it’s not a perfect model, and we’ve yet to see it play out in action with any success, but so far it’s the best alternative suggestion to pay walls so far.

Read More: Journalism Online’s Official Site

Read More: FBNY Poll: What Content Would You Be Willing To Pay For Online?