I recently read an article in the New York Times titled “Adding Fees and Fences on Media Sites”. It talks about the on going speculation of paid subscription plans for the major media players.
If you aren’t paying attention to the headlines about the future of print media, I encourage you to do so. 2009 was an interesting year for news outlets and media companies. Deemed as the year of Twitter, news affiliates began to scramble for new profit models for their publications.
The popularity explosion of Twitter and other social networks only added to the increasing fears of the major media companies.
As new pay models begin rolling out, the advertising models will obviously be different. The root of this web news reform lies in the lack of advertising profits. As blogs and Twitter became more credible in the last few years, the major players lost readership and in turn lost advertisers.
What To Expect
It is hard to say what will come of all this. There are so many media companies mobilizing and merging to establish a pay wall system. I think that advertising models will vary based on the publication.
The removal of ads is a strong possibility to me. I don’t think this is something publications will do at first, but may do in response to user feedback. I know if I were paying for web content that I once received for free, I would want all ads removed. Isn’t this what caused this change in the first place? If I were paying a subscription fee, why would I still be seeing ads?
I say all this because it has a direct effect on our marketing efforts. Imagine this scenario.
Publications including magazines are no longer in print. Physical newsstands are a thing of the past. (This might become a reality sooner than you think) Publications exist only in digital form. If publications charge readers and remove advertising, where does that leave us as marketers? It has the potential to totally eliminate a communication channel.
My point is that the marketing tools that we have grown accustomed to are going away. Think about what this trend might mean. We could see a future with no more newspaper or magazine ads. No more web banner ads on major news publication sites. These are things we have relied heavily on in the past.
It seems a little scary, but I suggest you stay on top of these changes. An understanding of change will help you take advantage of its result.