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NYT paywalls

2013-02-12 21:12:20.627608+00 by Dan Lyke 2 comments

Interesting: The New York Times paywall is working better than anyone had guessed.

Digital subscriptions will generate $91 million this year, according to Douglas Arthur, an analyst with Evercore Partners. The paywall, by his estimate, will account for 12 percent of total subscription sales, which will top $768.3 million this year. That’s $52.8 million more than advertising. Those figures are for the Times newspaper and the International Herald Tribune, largely considered the European edition of the Times.

Although a search reveals just as many pundits claiming that the numbers don't really work out that way and the paywall is hurting the NYT.

But, I'd like to go another direction here: When subscription fees pay for our media consumption, how will we do product and service discovery in a post-advertising world? I'm thinking about this in the context of seeing how Amazon Prime is changing how I view commerce,

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comments in descending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2013-02-13 23:25:37.002878+00 by: Dan Lyke

Friends have been glowing for years about Amazon Prime, but I've been resisting. Amazon is evil, shop local, bla bla bla.

Anyway, they did a "x months free trial" or some such, so we decided to try it out. The shift in thinking is weird. We go from "we should put that on the list for the next time we go to the store" to "okay, we'll get that". And this has escalated to "I should drive to work today (rather than bus) so that I can stop at..." to "oh, yeah, I could just Amazon Prime that...".

It turns shopping from something that we queue up and go do (and have this long intermediate temporal zone where we could be more more influenced by advertising and maybe even seek out multiple vendors) to an immediate "grab my phone, search, maybe read a reviwe or two, click 'Buy'".

And "Does Amazon Prime carry it?" becomes the primary consideration.

So in a world where the decision-process is "does preferred vendor carry X?", rather than "I need to find a vendor who carries X?", advertising changes. I'm not yet sure how, but it feels like one of those profound switches that, in a decade, we won't even be aware happened.

#Comment Re: made: 2013-02-13 22:28:46.839275+00 by: petronius

The two chicken farmers were driving their chickens to the market in the big city, but because of the distance and price of gas, they realized they were losing money on every chicken they sold. So they got a bigger truck. That sounds like the arguments over whether the paywall works or not. 13 months may not be enough time to figure out what is really happening. For example, are the 600k new paywall subscribers cannibalizing the print customers, or are they completely new? It may be that paywalls are only a temporary issue, while we wait for the reshuffling of the industry to finally slow down.

I have no experience of Amazon Prime. What is it doing, in your view?