THE BIZARRE ESPN PAID-CONTENT MODEL, AND THE LESSONS FOR THE SUNDAY TIMES

Files under General | Aug 20th

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The fantastic ESPN magazine is offering to its two million current subscribers a chance to get a full year of the magazine and its ESPN.com pay site, Insider, for $1 total.

That’s less than 4 cents an issue and Insider, which on its own costs $40, for free.

So, as I said regarding Al Neuhrart ideas, if print media want to charge for its online content, first things first: start charging (really) for your print edition.

More than two years ago, I was scolded by “print experts” because I applauded the Sunday Times decision to increase its cover price.

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Wrong, you are wrong, you don’t have any idea abour press economics, bla, bla, bla…

Well, ladies and gentleman and dear so called “experts”, I was right.

This week the ABC presented the latest circulation figures and the only national quality UK print paper that continuous  growing is the Sunday Times.

Back to the basics.

Charge if you have something unique and better than anybody else.

The Sunday Times leads the market in the weekend, so good for them.

And good for me, the “ignorant” media blogger!

Roy Greenslade was more sympathetic to my ideas and said:

Here’s another way of looking at the Sunday Times’s cover price increase to £2, seeing virtue in it becoming Britain’s most expensive newspaper. The ever-thoughtful Juan Giner takes issue with those, like me, who feel it was the wrong move because it has cost the paper more than 100,000 sales.

He argues that it was right “because it’s the leader… and it is really good”, offering “a first class news and features package” and £2 “is a great deal for quality readers.” Apart from the extra revenue it generates, the rise is “a clear message to the market” that “this is the leader for the best readers, the ones that advertisers are looking for.”

In Giner’s view, all quality papers should reconsider their cheap cover prices (as the London Evening Standard has also done, of course). But he believes he knows how the Sunday Times could win new readers. If it changes its format and improves its design, he writes, “it will attract more young readers, and more women will buy it.”

So here is his advice to Rupert Murdoch: 1. Keep the price at £2; 2. Change the format; 3. Redesign the paper (better than The Times, that it’s a shame!); 4. Tell the market the new message: the Sunday Times is the best of the best quality papers because has the best of the best readers. 5. And, for that reason, increase ad rates.

He adds: “You will save money with a lower printing run, and get more revenue via circulation and advertising.” And then concludes: “I am sorry, but Rupert Murdoch and News International are not stupid.”

Now, by chance, I was having drinks last night with a senior News Int executive who spelled out his company’s logic in increasing the price in much the way outlined by Giner. But editors like sales. So I wonder if the Sunday Times’s editor John Witherow is as keen on the initiative as his bosses and Senor Giner?



2 Responses to “THE BIZARRE ESPN PAID-CONTENT MODEL, AND THE LESSONS FOR THE SUNDAY TIMES”

  1. [...] of posts include; OBAMA: MORE SERIOUS FACT-CHECKING, MORE CONTEXT, PLEASE, ONLINE METRICS, THE BIZARRE ESPN PAID-CONTENT MODEL, AND THE LESSONS FOR THE SUNDAY TIMES, IN THE NEWSPAPER INDUSTRY, NOTHING CHANGES, AND EVERYTHING HAS TO [...]

  2. [...] you follow this strategy, that INNOVATION has recommended for many years (see here, here, and here), you better improve the content and presentation of your print [...]

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