The New York Times reports that media industry bigwigs are building the technology to offer metered content as a turnkey solution to existing news brands:

As the company envisions the system, a non-paying reader on a magazine or newspaper site would reach a certain point and see a page asking for payment — the Journalism Online system, operating within the publication’s Web site. But a reader who wanted a subscription to multiple sites would go directly to the new company’s own site.

They way they’ve described it, it would take a little collusion, but essentially I think it’s a good system. What they have to remember is that they’re charging for their brands, not their content.


1 Steve Roth 04.15.09 at 2:21 pm

Finally! Once again, the porn industry leads the way in new-media business models. Pay one fee, get access to lots of sites. I’ll sign up.

Let’s hope these folks have the necessary moxie to implement the model. They sure seem to. My superficial view is that it’s not (destructively) monopolistic, but the legal discussions should be interesting.

–What they have to remember is that they’re charging for their brands, not their content.

I think that’s a spurious distinction, hence incorrect. The brand reputation are dependent on the (perceived) trustworthiness of the content, and the (perceived) trustworthiness of the content is dependent on the brand reputation.

That self-reinforcing cycle is why editorial departments and smart publishers who are working for the long term are adamant and fastidious about maintaining editorial integrity and quality.


2 Jason Preston 04.15.09 at 10:41 pm

Isn’t it funny how good content isn’t worth money, but the intangible brand that it creates is worth money?

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