Brill's Pay-for-News Pitch to Publishers

Posted on 03. Jun, 2009 by in Paid Content, Revenue

Neiman Lab published details of the pitch Steve Brill is making for paid content yesterday, including a slide show presentation for wooing newspaper publishers. (The slide show is embedded below.)

In his latest venture, Journalism Online, Brill is aiming for an “easy-to-use e-commerce platform” that lets readers “purchase monthly or annual subscriptions, day-passes or single articles from multiple publishers using the same account and password.” In addition to boosting paper’s online revenues, Brill says the platform “will restore the value proposition of the print medium by eliminating the fully free online alternative.”

Among the assumptions in Brill’s model is an estimate that 5-10 percent of a newspaper site’s existing monthly unique visitors will sign up for a subscription. Yet, thanks to a mix of free content, pay-per-article micropayments and increased traffic from paying subscribers, Brill expects sites to keep 88 percent of existing page views and 91 percent of online advertising revenue (with the help of a 30 percent CPM increase).

Brill also tells Neiman’s Zachary Seward that he believes micropayments for single articles will be only a small portion of the paid-content pie.

“I think that people really want…the convenience of just having a subscription as opposed to stopping and buying something,” Brill said, later adding, “My gut is that subscriptions will win the day, but I don’t want to bet on it because I could be completely wrong.”

Brill says a number of newspapers have already signed up with Journalism Online, but they won’t publicly announce them for three or four more weeks.

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