49% of Surveyed US Newspaper Publishers Think Their Content’s Maybe Not Worth Paying For Online

Newsasaur Alan Mutter has gotten his hands on new American Press Institute data showing that 49% of 118 surveyed US newspaper publishers aren’t sure their readers would pay for their content online.Having spent much of the past seven years as a heavy business traveler in the US, I’ve probably read half these guys’ newspapers at one time or another, and yeah, I agree with them. I don’t care about the politics in the nearest big city to local town, I just care about my town.  I don’t need generic people-features written at a 6th grade level, or the same AP article that’s running everywhere on the Internet. What else have you got to offer me?The average US citizen moves home – often fairly dramatically — seven times in their life. Their local community, let alone the big city their suburban home is nearest, isn’t that interesting to them. They didn’t go to high school with the mayor, and their cousin’s company isn’t up for that big county road resurfacing gig. Their kids may not go to the public schools, heck they may not leave home at all. If they’re passionate about a local sports team, in all likelihood they get the coverage directly from a sports-specialist publisher.In fact, their passions — and when we pay for content, we pay for passion and/or extreme convenience — are as likely to be shared with disparate friends, family, colleagues and fellow enthusiasts dispersed all across America, not in their local region.   We don’t all live local lives emotionally anymore. As the voice of the local, how can newspapers survive as paid content?My suggestion — split yourself into niches. For example, I’d pay for a crime watch emailed police blotter by zip code. In a big fat heartbeat. And we all know the obits sell. Not to mention, the handpicked Best Yardsales for each weekend — especially if I can sign up by neighborhood. And, if you can send me a screensaver-worthy photo of my own kid at the soccer game, I’d pay.  I know none of this stuff is classic newspaper journalism. It’s content the intern could put out with a little help from your tech department. And, yes I do wish there were more outlets for the glory of news journalism too — maybe a “shocking consumer rip-offs” or “biggest political stupidity” site that gathers best-of stories from across the entire USA?  But, subscribe to a general info newspaper for my area? I think not.

You May Be Interested In:


"One of The Best Conferences I Have Ever Attended."

SUBSCRIPTION SHOW 2021 explores trends impacting your business and
transforming the subscription economy (whether we want them to or not!)
and prepares your subscription business to thrive.
Join Subscription Insider Nov. 1-3, In New York or via Live Stream
LEARN MORE