Thursday, December 22, 2016

Honeymoon at the Washington Post: what's next?

Executive Editor Marty Baron interviews Post owner Jeff Bezos. (Washington Post photo)

Note: Marty Baron will be speaking here at the University of Navarra in Pamplona, Spain, on Jan. 26.

The Washington Post is following the strategy of world domination of its owner, Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon, the world's largest online retailer.

In contrast with most of the newspapers in the U.S. and Europe, the Washington Post is hiring journalists and engineers, investing in new technology, and expanding into new markets. Bezos has  global ambitions for the Post, as Newsweek detailed in a recent analysis. 

In the same way that he built the business of Amazon, Bezos has committed to absorbing financial losses in the short term with an eye toward gaining market share over the long term. It's a strategy that requires an owner with deep pockets.  

Monday, November 28, 2016

If you don't have money, use social capital

Image from MCMcapital.com
Digital media entrepreneurs often lack the financial capital and business savvy to launch and sustain a high-quality news operation.

They could improve their reach, impact, and sustainability if they knew how to harness social capital in the form of partnerships with universities, broadcasters, foundations, for-profits, and nonprofit organizations.

Most digital media startups have trouble raising financial capital. They can't get loans because they don't have anything to pledge as collateral other than their personal home and auto. They can't get investors interested because they lack a business model with a promise of profit.

 What is their social capital?
  • A veteran journalist has a reputation in the community as a trusted source of information. Their name is their brand with readers and potential sponsors.
  • They may have a relationship with a university where they have occasionally lectured or even taught entire courses. A university could provide volunteer labor, equipment, and even broadcasting facilities for a startup. The startup would be a teaching laboratory for students.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Why fake news is beating traditional news

Traditional news organizations made a deal with the devil when they turned to social media and search-engine optimization to gain digital audience and revenue.

They recruited "community managers" to raise their profile on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and the like. They tagged their articles to raise them in search results.

The devilish side of the deal was that presumably ethical news media were trying to sell credibility and verified information -- facts -- within a turbulent ocean of emotion. On social media, feelings are more important than facts. People want to declare who they are and what they believe. So they "like" and share stuff that reinforces their view of who they are and what they agree with. Emotions predominate over facts.

Versión en español

Articles that are popular, shared, and linked to will rise to the top of search results in Google and other search engines. It's easy to share or like something that reinforces your view of who you are.

Misreading the data

So the post-election idea now being championed by many journalists that Facebook and other social media should be fact-checked, and that fake news stories could be eliminated from social media shows they misunderstand the new media dynamics.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Media value lies in relationships, not scale

Amid all the news about how Facebook and Google are devouring the world, I would like to sound a note of optimism for digital news media. But first, let's acknowledge the bad news.

It is true that the munch munch munch you are hearing is the sound of the Internet giants biting off big slices of the digital advertising pie. However, much of that has been at the expense of traditional news media. There is an opportunity for digital-only news media to fill the gap in local coverage.

In the short term, this is not something to celebrate, since the decline of newspapers in particular has led to a big loss in watchdog journalism on the local level. The chart below, which has been published widely, shows the rise of Facebook and Google's advertising revenue concurrent with the decline in newspaper ad revenue.

With information from Thomas Baekdal @baekdal and Ben Thompson @benthompson of Stratechery.com.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Sage advice from Spain's 'mastermind of startups'

Antai Venture Builder nurtures startups. Photo by Caterina Barjau, in El Pais.
Miguel Vicente was an industrial engineer with a hefty salary when he decided to throw it all overboard nine years ago and launch a coupon site.

He gave some memorable quotes that should be heeded by any entrepreneur during an interview with Daniel Verdu of Spain's prestige daily newspaper, El Pais.

"It's like the two pills in Matrix, you have two options: the blue one is for a secure paycheck at the end of the month, the support of a big group that will help you, nice vacations and weekends. And the red pill is the one for entrepreneurs: you won't have anything you had before and you won't even know if you will be around the next day. But you will be the owner of your destiny. That feeling, plus the notion that you cannot fail, makes you pull out the best of what you have inside." 
His first startup was called Lets-Bonus. He sold that and eventually he and two partners launched Wallapop, a mobile app with location technology for buying and selling second-hand goods with nearby users. It is similar to a CraigsList for Spain and has reportedly attracted more than $100 million in investment. Some speculate that its market value might be $1 billion, unicorn territory.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Newsstand owner adapts to survive media crisis

Newsstand owner Jesus Erro: Publishers are fudging their sales numbers.
PAMPLONA, Spain - Those who study the business of media tend to look at it from the perspective of journalists and publishers. But the owner of a newsstand in the heart of this provincial capital has a different point of view.

Jesus Erro, 56, has owned and operated Caprichos Books and Stationery for the past 24 years. He has seen the good times and the bad.

For the first decade or so, sales of magazines and newspapers -- about three fourths of his business -- were strong. But beginning in 2008, with the combination of the financial crisis and the Internet's impact on sales of print products, the business has gone down steadily.

Versión en español

"For small shops in this industry, it's very difficult to survive. A few years ago, when there was a favorable economic climate, everything was straightforward, more or less. You never expected to make a lot of money but you did expect to make a decent income. But now with everything that has come along -- the Internet, the economic crisis -- Pffff. We are trying to make just enough money to survive in these kinds of shops."

Friday, October 7, 2016

'Take risks, learn from mistakes,' says film-maker

Joffé spoke to several hundred students at the University of Navarra on Thursday.

Film-maker Roland Joffé has a way of leading people on a mystical meditation to find out who they are and how they will communicate with the world.

"The truth is that no one in this room actually knows where we are," he told about 400 students and professors Thursday at the University of Navarra School of Communication. "And if we don't know where we are, how on earth can we know who we are. And finding out who you are is all your journey, isn't it?

"Communication is about finding out who you are and listening to other people and finding out who they are. And that's very beautiful."

Joffé is best known for directing The Mission and The Killing FieldsBut he holds a special interest for the University of Navarra audience because he wrote and directed There Be Dragonsa film about the founder of Opus Dei and the university, St. Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer. (Our colleague Jaume Aurell was a historical adviser on the film.)

Make choices, take risks

Joffé encouraged students to take risks and learn from their mistakes, "Because that's the only way we learn. We're in a great vortex of communication. When we communicate, or when we create a film or a work of art, we can get it wrong. That's not scary, because we all make mistakes, and getting things wrong is part of the process, and listening to those who tell us we've got it wrong is an act of love."

Sunday, October 2, 2016

How a musician views piracy and streaming



In May I was in New York at an academic conference and had time to spend with my son, Patrick Breiner, a jazz saxophonist.

I wanted to hear what he had to say about the economics of the music business from his perspective. He ended up talking more about relationships than economics.

Patrick says that in the digital world, the connection between the artist and their work is intangible. So the act of downloading the work for free "doesn't feel the same as taking a physical thing from a store or a person."

"When you download content for free, at least in my experience, my relationship to that content is cheapened."

Patrick, 32, says he has downloaded lots of material for free from libraries and other sites, and never listens to it. On the other hand, the music he has bought and literally invested in -- whether from streaming services, CDs, or vinyl albums -- "I listen to all the time." 

Thursday, September 22, 2016

"It's not students with smartphones but professors' teaching methods that are to blame"

I want to share with you my translation of a blog post (Spanish) by my friend and colleague Jose Luis Orihuela, a professor at the University of Navarra, author, and keynote speaker.

Orihuela is addressing a problem that faces many teachers and professors: they say their students are distracted by all the media on their smartphones and are not paying attention in class.

Don't blame the students, he says. Blame the professors.

"It has to be said again: the problem is not that the student is distracted by technology but that the professors have to change their methods and the content of their teaching.
"It's easy to place the blame on the students and their devices; the hard thing to do is redesign education to adjust to a culture of connectivity. You can't teach against the culture of the students. You have to build on top of it."
He mentioned a well publicized column by a professor in Uruguay who decided to throw in the towel rather than fight against students using Whatsapp and Facebook in his classes.

Orihuela went on, however, to says he encourages those teachers who are adapting and admires  those who are changing.
The real challenge isn't students using tech devices in the classrooms, but rather professors learning to be digitally literate.
In this video (Spanish), Orihuela elaborates on the topic:


Friday, July 22, 2016

'Distributed content' expands reach, weakens influence of news organizations

The following is an excerpt from my chapter of a book on digital news media that will be published shortly, in Spanish. 

Among the most important developments in digital journalism in 2015 was the emerging practice of creating, distributing, and monetizing news known as "distributed content". 

Bell: "Facebook is eating the world"
What it means: news media organizations hand over their content to platforms like Facebook without linking back to their own websites so that smartphone users can get nearly instant access to the content without having to wait five to 10 seconds for it to display -- an eternity for impatient mobile consumers.

Versión en español

Snapchat was the first platform to stake a claim in this new territory of competition when it launched its Discover channel in January of 2015. Facebook followed in June with its “Instant Articles”, and others such as Google, Instagram, and Apple quickly jumped on the bandwagon.

These social and technological platforms had at least three motivations, according to Josh Constine of Tech Crunch. They wanted to avoid having users abandon a link to news content because of a slow download; they wanted to keep users in their own walled gardens to prevent them from going to other platforms; and, finally, they wanted to take advantage of the audience's attention to send them targeted advertisements, tailored to their personal tastes, preferences, and buying habits.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Forget about the big numbers; go for loyalty, trust

Anyone who has studied the metrics of the internet in any detail knows about the Big Lie: those big numbers of total users and page views that everyone relies on are practically meaningless.

Jon Slade of the Financial Times
In other words, millions of clicks or millions of users are not an indication of trust in a particular news brand or loyalty to that brand. We need new metrics, better metrics.

Versión en español

So it was heartening to see this reality affirmed by of one of the leading lights of digital media innovation, Jon Slade of the Financial Times, in an interview with Ian Burrell (thanks to NiemanLab for the lead):
“I've seen data recently that says that of all the pages on the internet less than 1% of them are from newspapers – the vast majority of time spent is with social channels and they are always going to be much bigger than you are – so if you’re trying to play a game of scale then you’re going to lose.”
There are only a few international brands that have even a slight chance of competing with the likes of Facebook and Google for the digital advertising dollars that are based on the number of eyeballs delivered to specific ads.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Media entrepreneurship takes hold at universities

Journalism professors are adapting to the realities of a historically tough job market. Their graduates are struggling to find stable work in an industry whose biggest players have been cutting staff for a decade.

So universities are teaching new skills -- multimedia production, community management, data management and visualization, among others -- as well as the traditional reporting, writing, and audivisual production skills.

They are also finding new business models. While the traditional media companies are hamstrung by mountains of debt and declining revenue, universities are stepping up to innovate and create new forms of journalism for the digital age.

A Facebook group for those interested in teaching media innovation and entrepreneurship has reached 800 members. And the City University of New York's Graduate School of Journalism is about to hold its third summit for educators in this growing field on July 15. Jeff Jarvis and Jeremy Caplan have been leaders in this field. I participated in the first two summit.


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Spain's most successful digital journalism startup

In our search for the next big thing, we often overlook some of the steady innovators who grow organically without millionaire investors or crushing debt loads.

Alfonso Vara-Miguel of UNAV
One such example is El Confidencial of Spain (their slogan: "The preferred daily of influential readers").

This is a digital news publication whose value proposition for 15 years has been to offer quality news exclusives "that other media cover up or don't publish because of their overlapping political and business interests," according to researcher Alfonso Vara-Miguel, professor at the University of Navarra (in Innovación y desarrollo de los cibermedios en España, 2016, Eunsa, Pamplona, pp. 166-77).

Spanish news consumers are more skeptical of their news media than most (more on that below), so this independent-spirited publication, with a philosophy of spending no more than it takes in, has racked up some impressive numbers:

  • advertising revenue exceeded US $9.9 million in 2014
  • after-tax profits were US $1.3 million in 2014
  • full-time staff numbered more than 100
  • it averaged 735,000 daily readers in August 2015 (ComScore)

The value proposition is exclusive journalism free of political and business influence. 

Versión en español

Saturday, May 28, 2016

12 road maps for sustainable digital media worldwide

Renaissance maps showed monsters, hazards to avoid.
The future of journalism is increasingly digital, mobile, and in flux. It is unexplored territory. 

Like the explorers and navigators of the Renaissance, various organizations – governments, NGOs, journalism groups, and universities, among others – have been trying to map the most promising routes to sustainability in the new media ecosystem. 

It's not just about making money; it's about providing news and information crucial to a democratic society. 

Versión en español 

(At left, a map from Chet Van Duzer's book Sea Monsters on Medieval and Renaissance Maps. Click to enlarge.)

As traditional news media organizations have lost revenues, laid off employees, and reduced coverage, new digital media have emerged as important players in providing public-service journalism, especially on the local level.

Databases and promising routes

Researchers from a variety of organizations have created databases of thousands of new digital media to study best practices and find new models for sustainability. Below are the 12 studies that I have found useful, mostly taken from a paper I presented at the World Media Economics and Management Conference May 5 at Fordham University in New York City.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Univision looks beyond the U.S. to capture audience of 500 million Spanish speakers

AUSTIN, Texas -- Univision has been the most important Spanish language media company in the U.S. Now its digital news arm is taking aim at the 500 million Spanish speakers around the world. 

Borja Echevarria, its digital editor-in-chief, says his team is at the beginning of an initiative aimed at Spanish speakers in Latin America and globally. 

"Fishermen in the desert," Univision's report on a lake that dried up in Bolivia.
“We are covering topics that might occur in Bolivia but that could be related to something that occurs in Colombia or in Peru. We are not trying to attack highly local topics, at least not in this first stage. We are looking for topics of international interest.”
He made his comments to me in an interview in April on the sidelines of the International Symposium on Online Journalism.

Versión en español

An example of the kind of coverage he described was Univision.com’s multimedia package on Lake Poopó, the second-largest in Bolivia, which dried up because of climate change and has left a community of fishermen high and dry. 

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Readers pay for digital news when you sell the value

NEW YORK -- The big mystery in the newspaper industry has been how to get digital readers to pay for a product they have been getting free for years.

Denise Warren
The industry has struggled because subscription operations were always loss leaders that didn't pay for themselves. Executives had no idea how to run a profitable subscription operation and have been learning how to do it for the first time, said Denise Warren, who played a major role in the New York Times's transition to paid digital subscriptions.

She spoke May 3 to an audience of professors and industry representatives at the World Media Economics and Management Conference held at Fordham University.

Many publishers make the mistake of marketing their digital products on the basis of price and discounts, Warren said, when they should be promoting the unique value proposition of news and information that readers cannot get anywhere else.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Loyal users will pay for watchdog journalism

Kinsey Wilson. Photo by Mary Kang/Knight Center
AUSTIN, Texas -- One of the dirty little secrets in digital media is that the big numbers of page views and unique users touted by publishers are misleading at best. They overstate a publication's audience size and impact.

Most visitors to a publisher's content are fly-bys: They stay for only a few seconds. And even if they stay longer than that, the vast majority come to a publisher's website only once or twice a month. These are not loyal users devoted to a brand.

What is more interesting and meaningful, especially for publishers of serious news and information, is that the smaller number of loyal users -- who come frequently, linger, and read many pages -- is willing to pay for the content and other products. They identify strongly with the brand.

Kinsey Wilson, editor of innovation and strategy at the New York Times, brought the point home last week at the International Symposium on Online Journalism when he mentioned that 90 percent of  his publication's digital revenue comes from 10 percent of its users.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Panama Papers: Lone-wolf journalists form a pack

Investigative journalists have achieved a new level of sophistication and collaboration as shown by this explosive investigation of offshore tax havens used by the wealthy and powerful. 

The investigation by 109 media organizations from 76 countries has shaken government leaders from China to Russia to Great Britain. It has led to the resignation of the prime minister of Iceland, who used a tax haven to avoid paying taxes on 3.5 million euros. 

The 376 journalists on the Panama Papers team overcame many obstacles, not the least of which was their own competitiveness. All of these journalists and news organizations agreed not to publish any of their findings until the agreed upon time on Sunday April 3. 

Versión en español

These journalists, who are accustomed to work like lone wolves and jealously keep their sources and information to themselves, had to "radically share" information with each other and overcome differences in language, culture, and practice. 

Saturday, March 19, 2016

14,500 friends lay out cash for aggressive journalism

Amid all the bad news about business models for high-quality journalism, eldiario.es ("The Daily") in Spain shows that good journalism can be good business.

Escolar: "Journalism is a public service that has to be profitable"
Its founder and CEO, Ignacio Escolar, just announced that the publication finished 2015 with revenues of US$ 2.6 million, up 33% on the year, and a profit after taxes of US$ 235,000.

Although the digital publication is free, its 14,500 "partners" (socios) pay at least US$ 66 a year to get access to the news a few hours ahead of everyone else as well as ad-free pages, discounts, and invitations to events.

Those partners brought in about a third of eldiario.es's revenues, "And they allow us to remain independent," Escolar said in his announcement. Although advertising brings in more than the partner revenue, no single advertiser comes close to bringing in what the partners do, so none has enough leverage to influence editorial decisions, he said.

Versión en español

Friday, March 11, 2016

Is Facebook swallowing journalism? Embrace it, says Washington Post's digital chief

Emilio Garcia-Ruiz speaks to the press in Huesca. Photo by EFE
HUESCA, Spain -- Yes, it’s good to have a billionaire owner with patience, but it’s even better to have a billionaire owner with a vision.

And the vision of Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos is that a news organization has to make its work available free, everywhere.

Bezos is urging the publication's journalists to adopt the principles of retail sales that he has learned over the years in running Amazon, America's largest online retailer of practically everything.

And the man who is putting that vision into practice is Emilio Garcia-Ruiz, the Post's managing editor for digital.

Versión en español

A fundamental concept in retail strategy is the sales funnel, Garcia-Ruiz said in his keynote address March 10 at the Digital Journalism Conference in Huesca, Spain. The idea is to get as many people as possible to sample your product (in journalism, it's through sharing in social networks), get them to pay for a product, and then make them repeat buyers for higher-value products. At each stage the pool of customers is smaller but spending more.

The key in a business sense, said Garcia-Ruiz, is to keep expanding that pool at the top of the funnel, just as Amazon has done in retail. And from a journalism perspective, the key is to merge the best journalism with the best technology to keep people coming back for more.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Your career is an adventure: Be an adventurer

Last week the Department of Communication at the University of Navarra invited 16 alumni with interesting career paths to share their stories with the students. 

I attended four of the sessions and heard a similar comment from each of the presenters: I never imagined that I would be doing the things I am doing now in my professional career. A journalism major was hired in public relations by a German automaker, partly because he learned German during a year of study abroad. Another journalism major's assignment to cover sporting events, in which he had little expertise, eventually led to assignments covering culture and entertainment, which he loves.

Many unimaginable opportunities presented themselves at unexpected moments from unlikely sources. Professional life for them had been an adventure.

Iñaki Gabilondo, Foto de biografiasyvidas.com
Versión en español

The advice these alumni gave also ran along similar lines: You need to be flexible, learn at every stage of your career, and commit yourself to doing the best work you can.

These comments brought to mind an interview I heard a while ago with another graduate of the University of Navarra's journalism program, an icon of Spanish radio and television, Iñaki Gabilondo. He spent two decades at the head of one of Spain's most-listened-to daily news radio programs, anchored a nightly news program and today has a video commentary blog called the Voice of Iñaki (La voz de Iñaki, Spanish).

Sunday, February 28, 2016

New mobile platforms aid users, penalize publishers

News publishers are again the pawns in a chess game among the big technology platforms, mainly Google, Facebook, and Apple.

And while publishers are losing control of their future, users are gaining a better experience with pages that load faster on mobile devices.

This is the scenario that is emerging with the expanded rollout of Facebook's Instant Articles, Google's Accelerated Mobile Pages, and Apple's iOS9 and News products.

I have spent a weekend reading over expert commentaries on the business and technical aspects of the latest innovations in Internet technology. What all three of these innovations have in common is that they are aimed at serving mobile users better and that they claim to help publishers gain revenue, audience, and data about users. Many of the commentators are worried that publishers are losing out to the platforms.

Nilay Patel, editor-in-chief of the Verge, was warning back in November that the battle among Google, Facebook, and Apple to corral mobile users and advertisers would cause the most damage to independent digital publishers on the open Web.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Latin America spawns scores of innovative news sites

Latin America has spawned a rich breed of online news publishers who are challenging mainstream journalism. These digital natives have achieved significant influence by innovating with digital tools.

They often aim to provide an alternative to the traditional voice of mainstream media, which are usually linked to political and business interests that have long predominated in these countries.

"Digital-ness" of highly influential websites. 
These are among the findings of a new study of 67 native-born digital news publications by Ramon Salaverria of the University of Navarra (Spain) and Summer Harlow of Florida State University. The study, published in the journal Digital Journalism, is an ambitious effort to measure the innovation, influence, and goals of these 67 digital natives -- "Regenerating Journalism: Exploring the 'alternativeness' and 'digital-ness' of Online-Native Media in Latin America".

And while the scholars have not set out to create  a viral listicle a la Buzzfeed, they have created two tables in their article with fascinating detail, one of which I have condensed (at left).

The rankings of "digital-ness" are based on measurement of each site's use of multimedia, interactive elements, and degree of audience participation. All 10 listed here were rated as "highly influential" by the researchers, based on measuring their per-capita Facebook and Twitter following and their global ranking in the Alexa audience measurement service.

Versión en español

Thursday, February 11, 2016

From Poynter, 25 ideas for nonprofit newsrooms

Note: This blog post from Poynter Institute is used with permission. I think it is a particularly well stated summary of key points digital news entrepreneurs need to keep in mind. A Spanish version was translated by Ética Segura of the New Journalism Foundation of Iberoamerica. - James

Diversify revenue streams. Train from within. Make the most of metrics. Sometimes the simplest ideas can be the most effective.

A small group from Poynter visited a dozen nonprofit and for-profit news organizations in 2015 to gather information to share at this week's Nonprofit News Exchange. Here are 25 ideas, observed at many of the places we visited, that anyone can apply to his or her own newsroom.

1. Know your mission. As you build your team, look for staffers that buy into your mission and keep communicating the big point of your venture clearly. This is an advantage startups have over legacy outlets attempting transformation and struggling to bring staffers along.

2. Start with a fresh idea. A good editorial concept, fresh and serving an unmet audience need, is critical. This will need refining as you go along, but what you are doing needs to stand on its own or no amount of tweaking will save it.

3. Train from within. Data journalism specialists are critical to generating high-impact investigative stories but might be hard to find or pay for. Look for opportunities to train your own employees and allow them to expand their own expertise and skill sets on the job.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

ProPublica pioneers investigative journalism for the digital age

PAMPLONA, Spain -- Given all the trash, half-truths and outright lies published on digital media, people are placing a higher value on media that verify information and demonstrate high ethical standards.
Paul Steiger, taking questions at U. of Navarra event

Paul Steiger, founder and executive chairman of ProPublica, tells of a major donor to his online publication who "absolutely hated" an investigative story that they had published about a group "near and dear to the donor's heart". Steiger told the donor that the information was verified, and the story was fair. "We will just have to agree to disagree," he told the donor.

The donor, who had given $100,000 every year, stopped giving. And that would have been the end of the story, except that a year later, with no explanation, the donor's annual check arrived again. Steiger's point was that even people who disagree with you still respect journalism with high standards of accuracy and ethics.

Versión en español

He made his comments to students and faculty of the University of Navarra during a series of public presentations and interviews with various media. He described some of the keys to producing effective investigative journalism even while traditional news media have been cutting back on staff and in-depth reporting. (You can see coverage of his talks, in Spanish, from El Español, El Pais, ABC, Público, ElMundo, and Infolibre, along with a Storify of Tweets in English and Spanish.)

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Universities are driving innovation in media

The true role of universities has always been the improvement of society. Developing leaders is a key part of that.

The scholars of universities immerse themselves in the values, ethics, culture, and history of a society and then communicate it to the students.

Those of us in the humanities tend to think of innovation as something that happens outside, in the world of business, especially in the digital world. However, courses in innovation and entrepreneurship have started to take hold in schools of communication.

Versión en español

Beyond commercialization

For academics, who seek knowledge for its own sake, there is something slightly perverse or unclean in considering their work from the point of view of its application in the business world. But innovation goes far beyond mere monetization.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Paywalls and micropayments start to gain traction

The loss of advertising and the complications of public funding are forcing digital publishers to look for ways to persuade the public to pay.

Surveys and actual market behavior show that a small percentage of digital users will pay, depending on the country, the media brand, payment systems, and technology platforms. For some publishers, that could be the difference between thriving and merely surviving.

(Versión en español)

The amounts some would be willing to pay are in the chart below, from Reuters Institute’s 2015 online survey of 24,000 users in 12 countries.

From Newman et al., Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2015 (p. 65). 
Click on chart to enlarge.