Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Magazines: You say Paywall, I say Subscription

Another extract from James Fallows in The Atlantic, this time on paywalls (scary, new) considered in the context of subscriptions (reassuring, familiar):

“If you go back through history, content has always been monetized across a broad spectrum,” Nikesh Arora said. “You could buy a journal for a $1,000 subscription price and an audience of 1,000. Or you could pick up a newspaper that is given out free on the Metro. People have adjusted their cost curves to their own form of monetization. The Harvard Business Review is not fretting about a loss of advertising [most of its revenue comes from subscribers]. The free Metro paper is not fretting about low subscription income. They have different business models, and the same principle will apply on the Internet.” Before, “publishing” meant printing information on sheets of paper; eventually, it will mean distributing information on a Web site or mobile device. That shift, according to Arora and others, will not force news companies into a limited range of business choices. If anything, it should allow for even more variety.

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