Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Ouch! Hearst content not strong enough for pay wall

The head of Hearst newspapers (which include the Texas dailies Houston Chronicle, San Antonio Express-News, Beaumont Enterprise, Laredo Morning Times, Midland Reporter, Plainview Daily Herald, etc.) plans to erect a pay wall for some of its online content, but Ken Doctor asserts those newspapers don't produce enough "proprietary content" to convince readers to cough up some dough (though he does commend the Hearst bloggers.)

New Hearst News head Steve Swartz' leaked memo talks about charging for access to some online content, to be determined. Hearst execs have been told, since the announcement, not to erect any paywalls yet. In fact, they've been told to reach out and lasso more community content, another (better) idea newly regaining attention all around the country.

Odds of Happening: 4-1. It sounds good, but Hearst newspapers have little proprietary content that readers are going to be willing to pay for. Business content still merits, and rewards, walls, witness the and successes. But business content doesn't drive Hearst newspaper sites. Where they are strong is in staff and community blogging, in fact, led by strong editors, ahead of the industry as a whole.

I have no idea if Ken Doctor is right.

But our poll, which asked readers if they'd be willing to pay a reasonable fee for online access to their local paper, suggests he is. There's one more day to vote in the poll. Look over in the right sidebar. That is all for now.


Perry Dorrell, aka PDiddie said...

I vote for you to be picked as a Chron blogger, Banjo. But pleasedon't return the favor; I really don't think I ought to work for Hearst again.

Banjo Jones said...

bigger fish to fry, my friend.