The so-called “News Paywall” has been a subject of debate and ire for plenty of publishers, journalists, business owners and practically anyone with an opinion since The New York Times famously established their 10 article limit in March of 2011. One popular opinion is that paywalls never work — an audience on the internet is much more likely to get their news for free than anywhere else, and the value proposition is too low to keep anyone’s attention (and subscription). But there actually is a group of publications that are able to make the paywall work better than anywhere else, and they’re pulling in high revenue for their material.
Yes, the world of conservative political news media has mastered the paywall.
This week, Milwaukee-based conservative radio and internet network The Journal Broadcast Group signed a deal with new independent paywall MediaPass. Now, just like fellow conservative Glenn Beck, RightWisconsin’s Charlie Sykes will be able to support his website through the multitude of subscriptions made by his happy and loyal fans.
“We’re excited to help Journal Broadcast Group with RightWisconsin as they seek to connect directly with their readers, focusing on content and analysis,” MediaPass President Matt Mitchell told 10,000 Words. “RightWisconsin will have a predictable revenue stream, which will ultimately result in a higher quality website for its readers.”
It’s no surprise that the conservative news base has mastered the paywall — it’s been managing to support a handful of conservative media leaders, including the aforementioned Beck and Rush Limbaugh (through his “Rush 24/7″ online program). And, it portends that perhaps the answer to the paywall is providing niche content for an ardent audience base, rather than subjecting a wider pool of subscribers to the oftentimes discouraging paywall structure.
Whatever the cause, it’s safe to say that the financial answer for publications going independent may actually involve the paywall.
What do you think of MediaPass and the independent paywall? Let us know in the comments.