How much should digital media companies charge for content?

A recent Nieman Lab article analyzes the ‘newsonomics of pricing’ in the digital landscape.  There are a number of data points the author analyzes that are particularly interesting:

The basic principle: People won’t pay for things if you don’t make them pay for things.

Emerging data points:

33-45 percent of consumers who pay for digital subscriptions click to buy before they ever run into a paywall

If print readers are charged something extra for digital access, then non-print subscribers are more likely to buy a digital-only sub.

You can reverse the river, or at least channel it.

New products create new markets.

The all-access bundle must contain multiple consumer hooks. 

While pageviews may drop 10-15 percent with a paywall, unique visitors remain fairly constant.

Archives find new life.

News media is probably underpriced. 

Bundle or unbundle — what’s the right way? 


I think the biggest problem was one that is mentioned in the article: Buffet’s ‘Pandora’s Box’ analogy: you can’t give content away for free and then try to sell it.  Pricing is incredibly difficult and meticulous, and requires companies to measure consumer behavior or long periods of time.  If you give products away for free, you’re eliminating the possibility of gaining any insight on consumer habits and responses to pricing changes.  




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