Saving the newspapers and journalism too!?

April 23, 2009

So, sitting in the office today, I suddenly came up with a briliant idea to save newspapers, and journalism too!

“Stop giving it away! Charge for your content!”

“But!” I hear you all cry “You can’t do that, you’ll upset all the freetards; and anyway no one will pay.”

This is where I think you’re all wrong and because of that, it’s how newspapers and journalism can win out.

The idea here is to get people to pay for what they want to see, at an amount that is, to be quite frank near zero!

And there’s quite a few different ways and combinations of making this work.

  • Let them see the Headline, standfirst and first one or two pars only before charging.
  • No images unless a payment is made.
  • Archive content attracts a premium.

Now,  I know this has all been tried before and failed, but this is where the difference is, instant micro-payments.

Think of the Amazon One-Click system of buying, we apply that here, but with micro-amounts of money; 1p, 2p, 5p etc… These are amounts that peope don’t notice or care about, especially if it gets them what they want.

An example might be:

  • To read a full article 1p.
  • To see the pictures too, an extra 2p.
  • To be able to print it 5p.
  • To post the text on your blog 15p and so on…
  • To view a year-old article 8p

Just think of how you can filter and block your content and make a micro charge for the user to see it.

There’s another advantage to this too:

To enable a one-click micro-payments system, the users have to register and log-on to the site. This means that you can have as much detail on them as you want, which means that all the adds they see can be specifically targetted to them, and thus increase ad revenue.

And don’t forget a system like this is easily expanded to other products / areas of content:

  • Buy pictures for personal / blog / syndication with a mouse-click. Even have them printed and delivered to your door.
  • Buy a subscription to the real paper – it might save money!
  • Selling related items through a box-drop service.

But it’ll make journalism cheap!

Not if you think about it.
How many articles are there in an average paper? 250? 500? 1000? Now divide that by the cost of the news paper, the resultant cost is very small, very small indeed!
The sysem I propose actually increases the value of the articles!

So there you go, a simple and easy system that could save the newspapers and journalism too!

And if any newspaper group wishes to take this up, my commission and consultancy fees will be most reasonable …



  1. Can’t help thinking that this just feels ‘wrong’. I think I’d rather pay a yearly subscription.

    Thats just me though. I felt pangs of uneasiness paying for my first apps on the iPhone…

    Maybe the internet has just developed that reputation for free content, in some cases even if it should have been paid for.


    • The yearly subscription is great; it brings in a ton of cash in one go, but people see the up-front price and back off from going there.
      I think it’s the constant drip feed of micro-payments that’ll be the salvation of the newspapers. And at such a small level even the “freetards” can’t really complain (well at least not too much!).

  2. Been thinking about this. It’s a good idea. But the problem is, I want to read the Times, the Guardian, the Mail on Sunday, the News and Star, the Brighton Evening Argus, the Ealing Gazette, the New York Post and Le Monde online. Am I going to have to credit separate accounts with micropayments for *all* of them? Because that will be an unbearable faff.

    • Thanks, and yes the ideal would be one central payments scheme, probably similar to PayPal. But as a pragmatist, I see the newspapers wanting to keep control themselves.
      But if done sensibly (sic) with a good registration and log-on process then the payments shouldn’t be a total faff – once logged-on to a site, that’s it, just one-click, the payment is taken and you carry on reading.

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