Friday, March 26, 2010

Yet Another Thing I Don't Understand has an article today about media plans for pay walls on the new iPad.

It says the Wall Street Journal is going to charge $17.99 a month for a subscription on the iPad

A quick Google search took me to WSJ’s subscription page. You can get a subscription for both print and online access for about $13.00 a month, online only is $8.50 a month, or $9.50 a month less than it will cost you on the iPad.

I’m assuming that the “regular” online subscription won’t work on the iPad. Why does WSJ think it can get more than double its current Internet price on the iPad? Early adopters have a lot of disposable income? The high price is an “opening offer” which will drop if demand is weak?

The article says that Reuters and Newsweek will offer their products on the iPad. Will they have pay walls? A little longer Google search didn’t turn up an answer; but, I did find some thinking on the evolving business model for media on the Internet at by Andrew Zolli:

“Many new digital platforms are brewing, and early on in the development of each one there will be a battle for the business model—a fight to figure out who will pay. The advent of every new device is another chance to turn it all around.

“When I buy the dead-tree version of my local newspaper, I have no expectation that it should be free. If I pick it up and walk out of the coffee shop without paying, that's stealing. But when I walk upstairs to my office and log on to the Web site for the same paper, I feel a divine right to access the entirety of that paper—and 10 years of its archives—for free. Yet when I use another little computer invented more recently (Amazon's Kindle, say) to access that very same newspaper, I do pay. And I expect to pay. When the market floods this year with the iPad and its inevitable clones, I'll expect to pay on those as well.

“In the long run, the first decade of the Web could come to be seen as a momentary aberration—an echo of '60s free culture when we all took the bad, digital acid. So, media companies, on behalf of all misdirected Internet visionaries, I'm sorry. We like you—we really do—and we don't want a world without you. If you can hold on until we all have new kinds of screens, and new sets of expectations, you'll be fine. You'll be different, but fine. Just, please, don't take my word for it this time. Ask around.”

I wonder if the couple hundred thousand people that pre-ordered the iPad and those that will follow them are ready to pay for what they get free, or much cheaper, on their current computers?


Posol'stvo the Medved said...

I think I have seen ads for these devices where the newspapers retain some of their print feel and layout. I can't help but wonder if someone somewhere thinks that the traditional print layout is what we might think is worth paying for?

Dave said...

Maybe; but, more than you'd pay for the paper paper? And even then, you aren't going to see the whole page, unless you have really good eyes and could actually read the tiny, tiny print on the device.

The allure of paper is paper, not layout.

A totally unrelated thought - nope, I'm going to save it for a post.