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Do Paywalls Really Work?

Posted on Thursday, April 21, 2011 at 7:16 AM

In the news: New York Times Web traffic has taken a hit since the publication instituted a paywall on its website.

When the New York Times announced that it was putting up a paywall on its website, the roar was deafening. Readers who had enjoyed free content for years were up in arms, and publishing insiders squabbled over whether the move was genius or folly.

The paywall is not as prohibitive as some. Readers can still view up to twenty articles free of charge each month. After the twentieth article view, they are asked to subscribe. According to the Times, only 15 percent or so of online visitors read more than twenty articles per month. PaidContent.org explores some of the page view and site visit statistics. Read more.

Also Notable

The Daily Roundup

So how is iPad's The Daily digital newspaper doing? It's hard to say, but Nieman Journalism Lab paints a bleak picture. It's too soon to write The Daily's obituary; the Nieman study examines Twitter sharing of the publication's content, not concrete subscription numbers. Nieman describes the interest level in dismal terms. Still, a recent tweak to the app to resolve some lingering technical issues may boost numbers. Read more.

Magazines on the iPad

Things remain tense between Apple and magazine publishers, but more and more magazines are showing up in the iPad store. The iPad subscription model can mean limited or no access to customer data, a compromise that makes it difficult for publishers to market their magazines effectively. For the time being, however, the iPad is virtually the only game in town. If other operating systems can adopt and subsequently improve upon Apple's subscription model, magazine publishers will have a host of options for their digital editions. The next high-profile iPad adopter? The New York Times. The newspaper plans to be available on the iPad by June. Read more.

Independent Mobile Publishing

Mobile advertising revenues may be on the rise, so it stands to reason that mobile publishing will grow considerably in the coming years. In a recent Folio: article, Marshall Matheson shares his strategies for "mobilizing" Web content with smartphone/tablet site redirects, apps, and QR codes. Devising a sound mobile strategy benefits publishers on two levels: 1) Magazine brands can tap into the exploding mobile user marketplace, and 2) They can attract new advertisers whose focus is mobile advertising. Read more.

Newsweek Owner Dies

Sidney Harman, who purchased the ailing Newsweek magazine last year, died last week at 92. His family intends to continue with the magazine. Read more.

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