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Monday, October 26, 2009

Will you pay for an online newspaper subscription?

I am actually not going to enter the debate over whether newspapers should or should not charge for access to their online material. In the end, some will, while others will not.

Online subscriptions will provide revenue for some newspaper companies. The restriction of access will cause some newspapers financial grief.

What I will say is this, if the management of a newspaper company is too preoccupied with this decision of whether to charge or not, they will fail.

Why will people pay for information from one source versus another? Content and reputation. Otherwise known as their brand. If we know the brand of the news source represents the very best information, and what they provide enhances our lives, we will pay. But if your paper is just kicking out basic information that was covered by a dozen other sources, you lose.

Rather than debating "do we charge, or don't we," it is time to evaluate how your media source is different and what value can you provide the readers that they cannot get elsewhere. When you have a valuable, trusted brand, you can more easily find your income.

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