In late October, Newsday, the Long Island daily that the Dolans bought for $650 million, put its web site, newsday.com, behind a pay wall. The paper was one of the first non-business newspapers to take the plunge by putting up a pay wall, so in media circles it has been followed with interest. Could its fate be a sign of what others, including The New York Times, might expect?
So, three months later, how many people have signed up to pay $5 a week, or $260 a year, to get unfettered access to newsday.com?
The answer: 35 people. As in fewer than three dozen. As in a decent-sized elementary-school class.
Granted, $260 per year is an outrageous fee for a Web site, but the idiots should have realized that long before they went live. The Web site redesign cost $4 million. And they paid $650 million for the newspaper. I guess they were looking at their costs rather than their value to the reader.
If you want a better idea of how to organize an online news organization, read Howard Owens, who approached the idea from the opposite direction – first understand how much revenue you can get from an online newspaper site, then decide how much you can spend on resources.
Hat tip to Ace of Spades.