Before the Internet, the serious news came to you on a large wad of paper via a kid on a bike. At the risk of dating my self, I was one of those kids, so I know of what I write. Subscribers contributed enough to cover cost of delivering and maybe part of the printing. That pocket change paid to the paper boy each month contributed nothing to the editorial and news gathering operations. Advertising was what kept the paper running. Since most news consumers already pay for the internet delivery channel, and there are plentiful sources of news, is anyone really surprised no one wants to pay to read?
The news business is far from dead, but it’s changed. The cost of delivery has gone to zero as the industry moves to online publications. With site traffic, comes ad dollars, just not as many as when the kid bought ink on dead trees to you. The ad dollars have not gone away, but advertisers have more options than ever and news has to compete effectively to win them. Until newspapers provide more balanced coverage and engage their readers, I doubt they will have much luck selling more ads. Competition can be brutal when readers have alternatives. Back when the kid on a bike brought you the news, the very few.
With traditional print newspapers struggling to turn a profit, many have turned to the Web as a means to stay afloat. While some offer their online content free of charge, other papers have played around with subscriptions by charging readers a monthly fee. But that strategy may backfire, says a Harris poll released Wednesday.
Among more than 2,000 online adults surveyed, 77 percent said they wouldn’t pay anything to read a newspaper’s stories on the Web. And among those willing to pay, 19 percent would cough up between $1 and $10 a month; only 5 percent would shell out more than $10 each month. (Cnet)