Ada Lovelace Day

About The Authors

Suw Charman-Anderson

Suw Charman-Anderson

Suw Charman-Anderson is a social software consultant and writer who specialises in the use of blogs and wikis behind the firewall. With a background in journalism, publishing and web design, Suw is now one of the UK’s best known bloggers, frequently speaking at conferences and seminars.

Her personal blog is Chocolate and Vodka, and yes, she’s married to Kevin.

Email Suw

Kevin Anderson

Kevin Anderson

Kevin Anderson is a freelance journalist and digital strategist with more than a decade of experience with the BBC and the Guardian. He has been a digital journalist since 1996 with experience in radio, television, print and the web. As a journalist, he uses blogs, social networks, Web 2.0 tools and mobile technology to break news, to engage with audiences and tell the story behind the headlines in multiple media and on multiple platforms.

From 2009-2010, he was the digital research editor at The Guardian where he focused on evaluating and adapting digital innovations to support The Guardian’s world-class journalism. He joined The Guardian in September 2006 as their first blogs editor after 8 years with the BBC working across the web, television and radio. He joined the BBC in 1998 to become their first online journalist outside of the UK, working as the Washington correspondent for BBCNews.com.

And, yes, he’s married to Suw.

E-mail Kevin.

Member of the Media 2.0 Workgroup
Dark Blogs Case Study

Case Study 01 - A European Pharmaceutical Group

Find out how a large pharma company uses dark blogs (behind the firewall) to gather and disseminate competitive intelligence material.


free page hit counter



hit counter script


All content © Kevin Anderson and/or Suw Charman

Interview series:
at the FASTforward blog. Amongst them: John Hagel, David Weinberger, JP Rangaswami, Don Tapscott, and many more!

Corante Blog

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

Freemium strategies and journalism product development

Posted by Kevin Anderson

Anyone with a passing interest in the paid content debate of 2009 has been watching the Brill-Crovitz Journalism Online LLC plan with interest. The Nieman Lab at Harvard has done some excellent blogging adding much needed detail to the plan, and now Dorian Benkoil at Poynter delivers some of the last bits of detail that were needed to give the project an honest assessment. It’s not just a pay wall strategy, which is very good to hear. Dorian writes:

It’s the classic “freemium” model: Give your material to 95 percent of your users, and get the most avid few to pay for a premium or unlimited level.

And he gives a qualified endorsement of the plans that he has heard so far. “Done right, with constant adjustment, I think the model can work, at least for publications that have enough unique content.” The model can work, but that is not a guarantee that it will work, he says.

It’s not clear that smaller, non-business publications, or larger ones that have eviscerated their newsrooms, will have enough of value to get a significant number to pay for enough of what they produce, especially when so much is available for free.

Develop products to sell

One of the biggest problems with this discussion is that there is still too much focus on charging and little focus on deciding what to charge for and more importantly what people will pay for. As I’ve said before, journalists have tended to focus on what they believe readers should pay instead of being realistic about what readers will pay for. Alan Mutter breaks this down in a useful checklist. I’ll just highlight his first point, and leave you to read the rest on his blog:

1. You cannot charge for such commoditized content as world, national, business, sports and entertainment news.

Alan makes another point, which I think Dorian implies in his post. News organisations might have to develop new information products or services to sell. As Alan says of his checklist:

Astute readers will note that much of the information publishers would like to sell does not fall into any of the above categories. This suggests that newspapers and broadcasters who are keen on peddling content need to focus on creating saleable product before they begin trying to charge for it.

We return again to value as determined by our audiences. Social value is important to health of a communities and societies, but to pay for our social mission, we need to create economic value as well. If the content is valuable enough to readers, they will pay for it and advertisers will want to be associated with it. Dumb pay walls and generic content are going to speed the demise of some foolish news organisations, but if we create value for our readers, we’ll survive this horrible recession and be prepared to thrive when it’s over.

Tags: ,

Email a copy of 'Freemium strategies and journalism product development' to a friend

EMAIL THIS ENTRY TO A FRIEND



Separate multiple entries with a comma. Maximum 5 entries.



Separate multiple entries with a comma. Maximum 5 entries.





E-Mail Image Verification

Loading ... Loading ...

3 Responses to “Freemium strategies and journalism product development”

  1. Strange Attractor » Blog Archive » QsOTD: Journalists shouldn’t confuse important with simply urgent Says:

    [...] for 2009-10-07QsOTD: Journalists shouldn’t confuse important with simply urgentFreemium strategies and journalism product developmentlinks for 2009-10-06links for 2009-10-05links for 2009-10-02New York Times: More innovation in [...]

  2. Strange Attractor » Blog Archive » QsOTD: Journalists shouldn’t confuse important with simply urgent Says:

    [...] and contextlinks for 2009-10-07QsOTD: Journalists shouldn’t confuse important with simply urgentFreemium strategies and journalism product developmentlinks for 2009-10-06links for 2009-10-05links for 2009-10-02New York Times: More innovation in [...]

  3. QsOTD: Journalists shouldn’t confuse important with simply urgent Says:

    [...] These products can be essential new revenue streams for news organisations. As I wrote yesterday, news organisations need to put effort into developing these value-added products in tandem with conversations about charging for them. And yes, this will have implications for [...]