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Dispatch Contemplates Going Pay/Subscription for Online Content

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  • #346499
    Talcott
    Talcott
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    Aaron Marshall wrote >>
    Given the amount of threads started on here using the Dispatch’s content, I’m curious what CU and other parasitic blogs/websites would do if they went to a pay wall…

    They would start from somewhere else. The Dispatch is the major newspaper in Columbus, so it makes sense to link to those articles, but it’s not the only source for local news. CU (and most blogs, for that matter) is popular because of the conversations and commentary that spring up around the articles, along with the content that is exclusive to the site (the podcast, for example).

    #346500

    Aaron Marshall
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    Talcott wrote >>

    Aaron Marshall wrote >>
    Given the amount of threads started on here using the Dispatch’s content, I’m curious what CU and other parasitic blogs/websites would do if they went to a pay wall…

    They would start from somewhere else. The Dispatch is the major newspaper in Columbus, so it makes sense to link to those articles, but it’s not the only source for local news. CU (and most blogs, for that matter) is popular because of the conversations and commentary that spring up around the articles, along with the content that is exclusive to the site (the podcast, for example).

    I think you and others would quickly find out that the Dispatch’s local news content is basically what sets the agenda for media across central Ohio.
    There are no alternatives at this point for first-rate local reporting aside from Business First for business news. That hasn’t always been the case in this town but it is right now.

    #346501
    Bear
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    (sigh…) Newspapers and music companies are just thinking about these issues the wrong way, it seems to me. They’re thinking about how to extract money from people, instead of how to provide things that people want (and will therefore pay for).

    They realized early on that the internet meant that a lot of stuff was available for low or little cost, and so they rushed to provide their content alongside it… not bad but as they’re now realizing it won’t pay the rent.

    The Times, New Yorker, Slate, a couple of others found a way to tap my wallet when they tailored their content to my Kindle. I get their content, delivered effortlessly to an e-reader whenever they produce it… so simple and useful to me that I’m willing to set up auto-pay and cough up a pretty good fraction of their dead-tree subscription price to have them delivered. Most if not all of them are clearing more profit from me than they did pre-Kindle; the only exception may be the NYT, depending on their production costs. And I’m quite happy with that outcome.

    I’m not saying that’s the answer to everything, of course. But it’s the sort of customer-oriented solution that’s better-designed than “pay for our content or get nothing,” which only works if you’ve genuinely managed to corner a monopoly position.

    #346502
    blammo
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    Aaron Marshall wrote >>

    Talcott wrote >>

    Aaron Marshall wrote >>
    Given the amount of threads started on here using the Dispatch’s content, I’m curious what CU and other parasitic blogs/websites would do if they went to a pay wall…

    They would start from somewhere else. The Dispatch is the major newspaper in Columbus, so it makes sense to link to those articles, but it’s not the only source for local news. CU (and most blogs, for that matter) is popular because of the conversations and commentary that spring up around the articles, along with the content that is exclusive to the site (the podcast, for example).

    I think you and others would quickly find out that the Dispatch’s local news content is basically what sets the agenda for media across central Ohio.
    There are no alternatives at this point for first-rate local reporting aside from Business First for business news. That hasn’t always been the case in this town but it is right now.

    I suspect the Dispatch would quickly find out they are not as invaluable as they seem to think they are.

    #346503

    berdawn
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    rave_til_dawn wrote >>
    The Dispatch use to have a paywall for it’s online content 9 years ago. I use to pay $4.95/month to read the online content. Then they made it free a few years later.

    I did that. I’m fine with paying for news…local, national, international. I’m really surprised that CSM is still free.

    ETA: how much would it cost to get the comments section moderated?

    #346504
    cc
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    blammo wrote
    I suspect the Dispatch would quickly find out they are not as invaluable as they seem to think they are.

    +1

    #346505

    the cruise director
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    somertimeoh wrote >>
    Would anyone really pay to read the Dispatch? I wonder if those hate spewers would pay to comment?!? :)

    OOOH… I luv that idea…

    #346506
    Walker Evans
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    Aaron Marshall wrote >>
    Given the amount of threads started on here using the Dispatch’s content, I’m curious what CU and other parasitic blogs/websites would do if they went to a pay wall…

    As much as I would love to claim that The Dispatch’s revamping of their online business model is due to the exponential growth of CU and other news-aggregators… er… i mean… “parasitic blogs”, that is hardly the case.

    Bear is totally correct in his statement that this is simply a move to capture what is perceived to be “lost revenue” in the form of a growing online readership at Dispatch.com and a shrinking subscriber rate to the print edition. I’m not sure if The Dispatch makes any money from their online advertising model, but I’m willing to bet that it’s much less than what they make with the traditional print advertising side.

    The problem lies in the fact that the lost revenue is simply “perceived”. I’m confident that the percentage of non-subscriber online readers who are willing to convert to paid subscribers once that switch is flipped is relatively low. And furthermore I’d say that the larger percentage of readers who opt not to subscribe will be a significant loss due to the changeover. I’m doubtful that the end result is going to be the desired result of the decision-makers at The Dispatch.

    This goes back to the joke-conversation last week about a “premium” CU account. I believe that it’s a smarter move to ask people to pay for new features rather than force people to start paying for something that they’ve always gotten for free to begin with.

    I consider myself to be a bit of a “news hound” and I’m personally on the fence about whether or not I’d pay for Dispatch.com content. Perhaps I’d do it as a business expense / tax writeoff, but as an individual? Probably not.

    But going back to the topic of “parasitic blogs” for a moment…

    Pre-2009, Columbus Underground’s “news” content was driven 90% by news aggregation from other news sources, and maybe 40% of that was from Dispatch.com. If you haven’t been paying attention… since January 2009, once we relaunched, we changed our focus to original content and moved away from news aggregation. Maybe 20% of our news content now is news aggregation, and maybe 30% of that from the Dispatch. Would it kill us to completely drop linking to stories in the Dispatch at this point? A quick look at our front page (which contains no Dispatch links) should tell you that the answer is no.

    On the flip side, I do watch our outgoing links and see what articles people are clicking on. We send a decent amount of traffic to The Dispatch as well as other sites and blogs to read their content. Would it totally kill the Dispatch for us to stop linking to them? No. But a few hundred visitors here and a few hundred visitors there, multiplied by various other local websites no longer linking to paid content articles would start to add up. I have to imagine that it’s something they’ve already taken into consideration, and hope that the gained subscriber accounts would negate the lost non-subscriber readership.

    #346507
    lisathewaitress
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    Is the Dispatch parasitic because of its heavy reliance on AP stories and other syndicated content?

    #346508

    JonMyers
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    Lisa I would say no because they pay to syndicate those stories. Parasite implies using without paying the host to me.

    #346509
    lisathewaitress
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    well. I just spent the last 15 minutes looking at the dispatch website. i found one interesting article about the North Market and how it is now self-sustainable and doesn’t have to be supported by tax dollars anymore.

    And then there were 60 comments about how the North Market is contributing to the obesity of Ohioans, how they are an evil, liberal market for elitist, limo-riding democrats, how people should shop at WalMart instead,

    And, how the North Market will be razed to put in mayor coleman’s train station.

    And that pretty much solidified for me that I will not be paying for content for the Dispatch.

    but I can’t wait to see them try it!

    #346510
    Jeff Regensburger
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    lisathewaitress wrote >>
    And then there were 60 comments about how the North Market is contributing to the obesity of Ohioans, how they are an evil, liberal market for elitist, limo-riding democrats, how people should shop at WalMart instead,
    And, how the North Market will be razed to put in mayor coleman’s train station

    It’s like some bizarre experiment to test the infinite monkey theorem. I expect that given enough time and enough comments, someone will eventually type something intelligent – even if by accident.

    #346511

    KSquared
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    lisathewaitress wrote >>
    well. I just spent the last 15 minutes looking at the dispatch website. i found one interesting article about the North Market and how it is now self-sustainable and doesn’t have to be supported by tax dollars anymore.
    And then there were 60 comments about how the North Market is contributing to the obesity of Ohioans, how they are an evil, liberal market for elitist, limo-riding democrats, how people should shop at WalMart instead,
    And, how the North Market will be razed to put in mayor coleman’s train station.
    And that pretty much solidified for me that I will not be paying for content for the Dispatch.
    but I can’t wait to see them try it!

    Dispatch comments make me lose faith in humanity.

    #346512
    Bear
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    jeff_r wrote >>

    lisathewaitress wrote >>
    And then there were 60 comments about how the North Market is contributing to the obesity of Ohioans, how they are an evil, liberal market for elitist, limo-riding democrats, how people should shop at WalMart instead,
    And, how the North Market will be razed to put in mayor coleman’s train station

    It’s like some bizarre experiment to test the infinite monkey theorem. I expect that given enough time and enough comments, someone will eventually type something intelligent – even if by accident.

    the monkeys have to be doing it at random, is the thing.

    #346513
    blammo
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    Bear wrote >>

    jeff_r wrote >>

    lisathewaitress wrote >>
    And then there were 60 comments about how the North Market is contributing to the obesity of Ohioans, how they are an evil, liberal market for elitist, limo-riding democrats, how people should shop at WalMart instead,
    And, how the North Market will be razed to put in mayor coleman’s train station

    It’s like some bizarre experiment to test the infinite monkey theorem. I expect that given enough time and enough comments, someone will eventually type something intelligent – even if by accident.

    the monkeys have to be doing it at random, is the thing.

    no kidding, that would greatly increase the odds

Viewing 15 posts - 16 through 30 (of 297 total)

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