Thursday, February 26, 2009

Would you be willing to pay a reasonable fee for online access to your local paper?

The chief operating officer at Newsday, the daily paper that serves mostly Long Island up in New York, says the paper is going to start charging a fee for access to its Website. [AP]

I've been wondering lately why all the big metro dailies around the country don't get together and agree to do the same thing, since many of them are teetering on the brink of financial disaster. (Everyone pretty much agrees it was dumb for daily newspapers to give away their content for free via the Web, in case you didn't know.)

So here's the question I'd like you to answer in our New Poll:

Would you be willing to pay a reasonable monthly fee to read your local paper?

By "local paper" we mean whatever nearby paper you prefer to read, ie., just cause you don't live in, say, Houston, you can still consider the Houston Chronicle your local paper if you wish. Likewise, if you live in Brazosport and only read the Clute paper, that can be considered your local paper. We realize "reasonable monthly fee" is vague, but don't let that stop you from voting; for discussion purposes, let's say the monthly fee would be around $8 -- around $2 per week, less than you spend on Cokes, coffee or whatever in a day, most likely.

Look to the sidebar on the right to vote in the poll. ------>

(Of course, it doesn't matter where you live to vote in our poll. We have readers all over the the place.)


Matt Bramanti said...

It really bugs me when newspaper folks say they "give away their content for free via the Web."

They don't. They exchange it for advertising impressions. I realize that online advertisements don't pay all the bills, but that's fundamentally the newspapers' and advertisers' problem and not mine.

But to answer your question, yes I would pay $2 week for access, if it included the grocery coupons.

Bill Crider said...

I voted "no" because I already subscribe the the Chron, and my wife doesn't use the computer. She loves reading the paper, so we'll sub as long as there's something to sub to. And I'm not paying double.

Anonymous said...

God Nose, No!
Let's hope the dinosaurs fold up quickly if they cannot adapt. Hopefully the NYT, LAT, Chicago Trib, etc. are next after the RMN:
Pay for what is useful to you. There are increasingly unlimited choices emerging in the electronic age including this blog.

Slampo said...

I wouldn't pay myself, because I already chip-in the $16 a month for home delivery of the local paper newspaper plus more for out-of-town products. But if it was a choice between $8 a month for online access or nothing, I'm sure I'd fork over the money (and save some). The question's all but moot, though, 'cause it ain't gonna work at this point.

Banjo Jones said...

I suppose readers who actually subscribe to the Houston paper would get free access to if Hearst started charging for online access, but who knows?

Anonymous said...

I don't read the local paper now for free online, so I guess the answer would be no. I'm not even sure I could tell you the name of the paper, even though there are bad-choices-made looking dudes holding it up on the corners everywhere I go.


Anonymous said...

Sure. I suggested it to the managing editor of the Facts several years ago. It could revert to the cost of many years ago, without the overhead of a paper edition.

There are a thousand things they could do to make it better than put it out every day on paper.

I don't think they'll do it, though. I think the newspaper business will actually retard the development of the same services on the web. Because the power of development is in the hands of people who refuse to, or are afraid of, or simply don't understand, the opportunities waiting and technology required in web-based - uh -anything.

It will get there, but by that time, several of us will be long gone.


Anonymous said...

somehow laying around in bed on weekend mornings with a laptop just doesn't have the charm of laying around in bed reading the newspaper.

Anonymous said...

Well, yeah. Hardcopy does provide emergency toilet paper, wrapping at the fish market, BBQ grill starter and bird cage liner. Not much else though.

IJ said...

I would, if I was paying for "news." If it meant more metro/state and sports.

Paying to support the whoredom of Whitney Casey, the mindless meanderings of MeMo, or (obligatory mention) the adolescent sarcasm of Lisa Falkenberg? No, no, and hell no.

And I usually go for adolescent sarcasm.