No matter how you try to sugarcoat it, trying to make people pay for online news content isn’t easy. And Long Island daily Newsday — already dealing with its fair share of negotiation problems between owner Cablevision and its staff — may now have to come to terms with the fact that its decision to put a $5 a week/$260 a year price tag on its site was a bad move.
According to John Koblin in The New York Observer, only 35 people have subscribed to pay for the site. And while it’s easy to mock those numbers, we’re more interested in why: is it because the people who pay to subscribe for sites usually do so in a national context (while Newsday is a local paper)? Is it the high price tag (or the hole in the pay wall)? Or is it that the content that Newsday puts out could be found elsewhere for free on the Internet? Or, most likely, is it because everyone who would read the content on Newsday‘s site can already access it as a subscriber of the print edition or a Cablevision customer?
“Millions of Cablevision customers in the New York tri-state area and 75 percent of Long Island households, including all Newsday home delivery subscribers, now have exclusive access to newsday.com at no additional charge. Internal research shows that Newsday’s Web site is an extremely popular new benefit to hundreds of thousands of Long Island Cablevision households.”
Read More: After Three Months, Only 35 Subscriptions for Newsday’s Web Site –The Observer