A concept for an innovative paywall news model
Paywalls have been inconsistently successful for news, magazines and other commercial information websites. Advertising likewise is much less profitable than it appears and does a poor service to the readers.
Here is my model.
Yes, have advertisements. Place standard banner advertisements on all section landing pages and the home page. This is where the majority of traffic is going to go anyways and the ads will not be as completely ignored as when the consumer is engaged in the content of an article. Do not put banners on content pages. Possibly use text based ads such as Google's adwords which are proven effective and can take advantage of the content to be targeted (banners are less successful as they have to be more generic).
Yes, use a paywall. Place the paywall in front of all content articles. Have summary/teasers for every article on the home page, section landing pages, search results. Allow RSS of headlines and teasers. Allow aggregation of headlines and teasers.
So what's new and different? Looks pretty boring and a sure model for failure? Okay, you're right. Now let's talk about payment and subscriptions. Payment would be in the form of purchasing tokens. The specific ratio of currency to tokens is not something I can speak to but lets say that you get 100 tokens for $1 USD as an example. So for $5 monthly you could get 500 tokens. Now I'll list out some possible content types and their token pricing.
|Widely reported news article from AP News Wire||1 token|
|Widely reported local / regional news article with little editorial content||1 token|
|Exclusive local / regional news article||5 tokens|
|Exclusive national news article||7 tokens|
|Financial/business articles with editorial content||7 tokens|
|Sports articles with editorial content||7 tokens|
|In depth reporting on regional news topic||10 tokens|
|In depth reporting on national/international news topic||15 tokens|
|Investigative reporting||20 tokens|
Add to this an ability to create marketing campaign tokens which act as coupons. Then the news portal can have partners link to articles and bypass the paywall for that session. Other means to engage consumers would be to provide free tokens when you sign up / register. Provide free tokens for registered users through surveys, forum post activity, referrals (bloggers can send traffic and get credits for those who register) and more.
Finally this provides a model which encourages serious aggregator tools, apps and services to pay for access to the content as well as incentives. The more traffic you send the more free access you get. OTOH if you send junk traffic you will have to pay for the content.
So what do you think?