There’s been lots of talk recently around Rupert Murdoch’s introduction of a paywall for the Times, and suggestions that it will be rolled out across all his newspaper titles.
Generally the reaction from most of the digital community has been pretty negative and many aren’t convinced that it’ll work.
I won’t rake over old ground, but a variety of people have put across arguments like
- People can get the content elsewhere for free, why would they pay to get it from you?
- Behind a pay wall you’ll get no Google traffic and then you’ve got no visitors paying or not
- Once you’ve made something available for free it’s very hard to then charge for it
- The concept of the newspaper is broken and user-generated journalism or solo-journo’s are the future.
And, I’ll be honest, I think everyone who puts forward these viewpoints is probably right.
Why though, if I think The Times paywall is a bad idea, have we very recently added a premium content channel for our popular Internet Marketing Podcast, where people are paying to get a daily training video?
We Wanted to Offer More
We’re very lucky that as an organisation which gains indirect leads and referrals as a result of the podcast, we can fund recording, but there’s limits to how much time we can dedicate to the podcast just as a marketing tool.
There was so much more knowledge we wanted to share, introducing a premium content area allows us to do that.
I like to think this is where intelligent paywalls differ from the mad ones; everything that was available for free still is. In fact we recently up-ed the frequency of the free podcasts from a monthly to a weekly schedule.
The paid content is extra and we hope even more valuable. A daily training video and access to best practice documents was more than we previously offered.
The Listeners Wanted It
A while back we surveyed a significant chunk of our community and asked them whether there was any additional content they would be willing to pay for.
The top three responses were How To Screencasts, Ebooks & Training Materials. Not surprisingly this is just the kind of content we’ve included.
I’m not sure whether the media companies introducing pay walls have asked their readers what existing or additional content they’d be willing to pay for, but if they haven’t then they just aren’t equipped for the world of the web.
We Think We Can Do A Better Job Than the Competition
Yes, it might sound a little cocky, but we’ve seen a lot of ‘Get Rich Quick’ types offering paid for training on internet marketing who have never promoted anything other than a blog about making money online. We know we can do a better job.
We know there’s a significant chunk of of business owners or employees within companies who want to promote themselves better online but just don’t believe a lot of the the ‘Make Money Online’ hype merchants.
We’ve worked with some of the biggest brands in the UK and have produced over 70 episodes of the podcast so we hope we’ve got the track record.
The problem for people like the Times is that very few newspapers have successfully implemented a paywall – they’re flying blind.
I think what we’re doing is quite different, and I hope some are convinced that paywall doesn’t always equal internet busines FAIL.