Paying Customers First!

090218-pb-paidcontentex.jpgThe Minneapolis Star-Tribune is working on an interesting way to generate revenue for its paper. Star-Tribune Editor Nancy Barnes writes today that the paper will be starting to give more consideration to paying customers. So with that in mind, the paper intends to reserve certain content for paying subscribers first.

stories will be marked as print exclusives; over the next few weeks, you will start to see them on every section front in the Sunday paper. We will continue to post all breaking news online immediately, because the era of 24-hour news demands that. The best of our deep, exclusive content will be available online later in the week, unless we have a compelling reason to post it sooner. We have already asked the Associated Press not to distribute this content to other AP subscribers, so that our readers alone will get this content.

While it’s certainly an interesting model, the question becomes how much do people really care about deep content? As we stated recently, 40 percent of bloggers say that they will pay for content. Will that translate to the larger public? Guess we’ll see with the Star-Tribune‘s new program. In this time of industry change, its encouraging to see newspapers attempting to ameliorate their business models.