Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Freemium Strategies, The Key is the Mix?

I've been meaning to write a post about the push to save newspapers via paid subscriptions.

In April, Steven Brill announced the creation of Journalism Online and invited (Read: challenged) publishers. Brill said that he had the formula to save their businesses. Generally speaking, the formula is a mixture of free and premium content known as "freemium."

This week, JO announced a partnership with ITZ Publishing. Together they would track usage of small- and medium-sized newspapers and optimize the freemium strategy for each publication based on usage.

I find this strategy interesting for many reasons, including the similarities to research by inStat. inStat recommended a mix of fee, paid subscriptions, and micropayments targeting the core users of a site. An important element of the strategy is targeting the core user with engagement strategies and subscriptions. The idea is that the core user will will pay because they are devoted users, and their engagement will draw in the moderate users, who will be monetized through display ads and occassionl sampling of premium (fee-based) content. The strategy was echoed in what JO has been proposing.

Of note, inStat believes the freefall in newspaper advertising will stabilize in 2010, providign a glimmer of hope for papers that restructure their businesses.

1 comment:

jim thompson said...

It would also seem that newspapers and media in general should consider packaging content as a service. To take into account not just the information, but how it can be delivered, customized and timed to be more useful. HS football scores are good, but HS football scores of just the teams I'm interested in delivered by SMS within minutes after it's available along with the score of their next opponent -- that's great.