Phillip Smith

Weekend reading: How publishers are charging for online content

Many of the publishers I work with are (still) grappling with questions about charging for content: if, why, how, and so on. These questions can become almost paralyzing when taken to their extreme, and in this situation I've often advocated to "give it away or don’t: pick one," i.e., choose a direction, stick with it for a while, and then re-assess. Nonetheless, there will be those that want to fret over the decision endlessly and to carefully consider every angle -- and those folks will want to have a look at Alastair Bruce's recent presentation about "Charging for content."

Bruce's presentation is a thorough examination of the current state of affairs in the online publishing world. He offers a comparison chart the explores the different models used by major newspapers, local news, and specialist publications. He delves into the specifics of many of the models -- micro-payments, metering, freemiums, etc. -- and leaves us with a nice snapshot of the landscape that's current to February 2010.

It will be a great addition to your weekend reading list, I promise. I particularly liked the exploration of how publishers are pulling social media, search advertising, and other models (membership, etc.) into their revenue mix. Great stuff and hope to see more like this from Mr. Bruce.

(Thanks to Mark Coddington's weekly roundup at Neiman Journalism Lab for the pointer)


Hi, I'm Phillip Smith, a veteran digital publishing consultant, online advocacy specialist, and strategic convener. If you enjoyed reading this, find me on Twitter and I'll keep you updated.


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