Gannett Co. Inc., owner of Clarksville’s own Leaf Chronicle, has announced plans to roll out new subscription models for their online content.
The Leaf Chronicle is going to charge people to read stories on their website. Wow.
WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO CLARKSVILLEWTF? WHERE WILL WE COPY-PASTE OUR STORIES FROM NOW???
But seriously, the dying print newspapers of the world are pushing the public to pay them to read their 1’s and 0’s on the interwebs. It seems inevitable when you first look at it. But when you dig deeper, this all amounts to desperate times leading to desperate (and illogical) actions.
Social Media Is Taking Over
Once we dig through Facebook posts bitching about The Bachelor and double coupons, we find about half of what we talk about comes from social media. This is a fairly new development, and it’s one that traditional news has yet to truly embrace. I have learned more about Publix opening from Facebook than from the Leaf Chronicle. I find out that a (mediocre) business is closing on Twitter DAYS before any news site knows.
Of course you’ll have hoaxes and just plain misinformed tweets and posts, but that’s where a “professional” news site can filter the BS from the truth. They can make the calls or ask the bosses if they really want to be sure. But a reporter can’t be everywhere, and the LC still seems to get their news by sending people out to take pictures and talk to a business representative for an hour. It’s inefficient in these changing times.
Your Hundreds of Ads Can’t Pay For Your Website?
OK, they want to charge you to read their website. Does that mean you won’t have to navigate through a sea of invasive banners that pop-up, drop down, and drill into your eyeballs?
Advertising is where most online sites make their money. Using that logic, the Leaf Chronicle should be swimming in Scrooge McDuck money bin numbers. They have as many ads as porn sites (yet none of them are as “entertaining”). Yet here they are, ready to ask for more money on top of a page-filling ad for Furniture Connection.
So here’s the conundrum you run into…there will still be a “free” Leaf Chronicle, featuring some of the stories but not all. Paying members get all stories. If non-paying readers get less access to stories, they will view fewer pages, and in turn view fewer ads. Less ad views equals less money from advertisers.
On the other hand, if paying members (AKA the suckers) don’t have to view ads, that’s also less ad views and revenue from advertisers. But if the suckers do get the same amount of annoying ads, they’ll feel ripped off for paying.
Advertising is an important part of many sites’ survival. Hell, I’d totally update this site more than 2-4 times a week if I made any real money from ads. But the money I make now is about enough to buy a bag of Fun Size Snickers every other month.
On the other hand the Leaf Chronicle looks like they’re trying to get money on both ends. They may alienate advertisers and customers in the process.
The issue of paying for online news has been around for awhile. The New York Post and the Wall Street Journal both have tried this method before with varying results. But I have one question for Gannett/LC… What incentive are you giving paying customers?
The way the story reads, you’ll be paying for the same average product you presently get for free. Go to their page right now and ask yourself if you would hand over your bucks to read it. I have a feeling that most people in Clarksville would say “no.” On top of that, people are stingy and greedy, and they want to know what they’re getting for their dollar. What new amazing feature will the Leaf Chronicle add to ensure it’s totally worth their money?
At-home paper delivery? No…I’m on my computer trying to read the news for a reason–I don’t want a stack of paper that I’ll just throw away 10 minutes later. It’s like trying to sell an MP3 to an iPhone owner by forcing them to take a CD-single with it (for an additional charge).
It’s going to be difficult to convince people to pay for news. Especially when there are so many other options…
ClarksvilleOnline.com and ClarksvilleNow.com have been boosting their online presence over the last couple of years, and are poised to benefit from LC’s change in policy. Their news has gradually improved, and some might argue that they are superior. As long as free sites are doing the news and are offering a product of comparable quality, you’re going to struggle to get paid subscribers. I’d argue that NewsChannel5 out of Nashville has just as many interesting stories about Clarksville some weeks.
…and of course ClarksvilleWTF.com, the most important site on the Internet, has been and will be free to read forever. I can’t imagine charging people to look at mugshots, and I can’t imagine anyone wanting to pay me for it.
Oh…one other thing that made me guffaw from the article…
“Certain online classified products such as Cars.com and CareerBuilder.com will remain accessible to all consumers.”
No shit. You mean to tell me that websites I can easily access without the Leaf Chronicle’s help will still be accessible to everyone? THANKS! Of course they’ll still be available, as they require no work by the LC, and I’m sure LC gets paid for reppin’ them on their site. DUH.