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Lessons from the Paywall Architecture

November 1, 2010

A few months ago I wrote about the divergence of modern internet technologies, and the expectation modern users are coming to have for their information devices, be they PCs, smart phones, or even video game systems.  That was just a few days before The Times launched their new “Paywall”, which only allows paying subscribers to access the full site content.  In the intervening months, The Times has had moderate success with their program, showing far more subscribers than most competitors, but at the same time their online reader base has dropped off dramatically.

What intrigues me most about this news is that, while the Times subscriptions numbers show that users don’t want to pay to read articles on their PCs, subscriptions to the LA Times on Kindle and Nook (the Barnes & Noble reader) have increased steadily.  That tells me that the market for reading newspapers electronically is present and growing, but the members of that demographic are specific about the devices they are willing to use.

It seems to me that this is a lesson many business need to learn – that whether a group of people are willing to pay for information, or even a service, may have more to do with the method of delivery than anything else.  If I’m going to be sitting at my desk anyway, then reading the paper on a screen isn’t much different from reading the paper and ink version, but if I can get the news on my phone while riding in the elevator, while not having to carry anything more than I normally would, that has real value for me.  At SNQ we’ve been developing a new line of web-based applications specifically designed to run on Safari on the iPad.  We’ve found a lot of interest from our clients for providing information on the iPad in a way that doesn’t have to go through the Apple Store, and that can be updated without a new download or installation process.  In the fast-changing business world, there’s a lot to be said for that kind of freedom in the development process, while still taking full advantage of the iPad’s versatility and mobility.  That’s just one example, but it’s easy to see how even small changes in the delivery of a product can make all the difference for customers.

One Comment leave one →
  1. February 12, 2013 4:55 am

    Enoeite oti kapoies dreasis 8a pesoun sto vronto. Alla i poli doulia exei ginei me anesi borei na perasei enas Atenistas na riksei 2 kotsania molohas pou pianoun me to tipota antexoun exoun kai xroma. Malon to lefko eftege giati oi MOV oxi mono antexoun alla tis peripoiounte kiolas!!! Prepei oi Atenistas na apoktisoun xromatiki aftotita na fenete oti einai doulia ΩΡΑΙΩΝ an8ropon:-)

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