One Dollar a Month

Under what sort of crazy business model do you give away your product and expect to make any money?

How about in local tv and radio.

At a time when newspapers are struggling to survive, broadcasters continue to chug along. No, they don’t make the kind of cash they once did, back in the heady days before cable and the internet, but TV has adjusted to the new economics. And just like in the past, they’re profitable. How? They have a product that people like — and advertisers know that TV and radio spots are still the most effective way to reach their customers.

I don’t expect free content. For example, I gladly shell out money for my digital subscription to the NY Times. In return I get more news than I can possibly read in a single day. So, how much would I be willing to pay for a paper like the Times Union? Compared to what the New York Times provides? I’d say it’s worth about $.25 a week.

One dollar a month may sound harsh, but if you don’t agree, take a hard look at what you get every day. A handful of local stories and… what? Goofy snapshot photo galleries? Blogs? I’m not going to pay for that stuff.

In short, if you want my money, you’d better start providing more content. A lot more.

4 responses to “One Dollar a Month

  1. I’m down to getting a Sunday New York Times as my sole paid periodical news at this point . . . I read it more like a weekly news magazine (I also get the Economist) than I do like a source of breaking news . . .

    Sadly, the Des Moines Register is following the Times Union down the rabbit hole of expensive irrelevance . . . see: http://www.dmcityview.com/civic-skinny/2013/08/07/more-layoffs-at-the-register-branstad-buys-a-house/

    (Worth noting: the guy who writes that “Civic Skinny” column is a Pulitzer Prize winning former Register/Gannett executive, not some blog-era amateur throwing rocks at the modern news . . . http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Gartner)

    • I don’t know who’s responsible for the TU’s web site, but it really tells me something when the first thing I see is one of those idiotic “Seen” galleries. Their web product is stunningly bad.

      All I can guess is that Hearst has decided that newspaper websites should be more like magazines and less like newspapers. Just look at all the crap on the Houston Chronicle’s home page:

      http://www.chron.com/

      Media decisions are always based on audience, so there’s only one conclusion that can be made: this is what people want. I guess I can’t blame them for doing that. Let’s remember that first and foremost, newspapers are a business — and newspaper editors who tell you otherwise are not being honest.

  2. Sadly, most folks don’t really give a rat’s ass about actual news anymore. For my daily read, I go to the BBC website, and the NY Times website. I subscribe to both The Economist and The Week. I do not watch broadcast news locally or nationally. Have you see the CNN website recently? It’s a joke, and reads more like The National Enquirer or Entertainment/Gossip Weekly than a site that features that depressing, boring old news. As for the TU, I certainly don’t subscribe, but I briefly glance at the local gossip, er, news and I do peruse the blogs a bit – they’re as close as I come to social networking as I’m Face and twit free.

    • Local news is an interesting commodity because it’s not widely available in the way world and national news is. I could see somebody stepping up and kicking the newspaper’s ass in terms of content and presentation. It wouldn’t be hard to do something better.

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