How can we make subscription content more accessible?

Mar 23, 2010


As you may imagine, gathering news is hard, time-consuming and expensive, which is why we charge a subscription to access all our content online, and part of why we charge for printed newspapers. But websites can offer more options for how you subscribe to our content than what we and most other websites currently offer. So my question is, what would you, our users, think of other options?

At this moment news organizations around the country are considering adding micropayments to their websites (the discussion, which comes up every couple years, was spurred this time by an article in Time magazine). That means that if you didn't want to pay for a subscription in general, you could pay for stories behind the subscription wall on an individual basis, like you can pay for individual songs on iTunes.

So when you go to a story that now says you can read the full story in the e-paper, it would give non-subscribers the option of paying 10¢ or whatever to read that one full story. Or it could work as a one-day subscription, where you'd pay 50¢ and have access to all that day's content -- just like buying a newspaper on the street or at a newsstand.

So what would you think of such a system?



Newspaper articles, especially of the local Sandusky Register variety, are not art or music, and are hardly intellectual property so I don't see the pay-per-article iTunes comparison being very realistic.

I also do not see how with your large viewership all of your online advertising can't pay for a free edition of the paper to be publicly available. At the end of the day, to me, news is news. I understand subscription for things like trade publications, but, this is local, public knowledge kind of stuff, and it's already clearly ad supported to a large extent.

Oliver Hardy

There used to be a lot of news that anonymous people posted onto these blogs that the paper would not print. I feel that a newspaper should print all of the news and not sanitize it to avoid stepping on someone's toes. Anybody in public office should have the news printed about them whether it is good news or bad. It is not hard anymore to gather news now that people are online. People are giving you leads to stories. Perhaps the staff at the Sandusky Register needs to get more involved in the news blogs and ask questions to generate better news. You have thousands of eyes and thousands of ears that can provide the news. Get the staff involved in the blogs. Ask questions or post comments to the blogs instead of deleting comments that tell the truth. There are all kinds of stories out there, get the staff involved in the blogs. Reporters ask questions, ask questions to bloggers in the blogs. Sue Daugherty does a good job in getting involved by posting comments or asking questions in her blog. I gave you one idea.

Fact Check

Where are the online forums?

Micropayments are a good idea, Nick. The idea behind them is that people open up petty cash accounts with paypal or tipjar or other online 'tipping' systems. Honestly there are some days that I wouldn't pay to read the Register. But when something happens of note around here, it's pretty much the only place to get information, and those are the days I'd drop 50 cents into your jar. Of course, it would then pay to more thoroughly cover topics that interest people.


If you can't get back to a comment thread.

I wanted to respond to a commenter on my last post who complained about not being able to find older stories to check on comments. The stories don't actually get removed from our system. If you click on "Week in Review" underneath the "News Extra" heading on the homepage, that'll take you to all the stories posted in the last week. Also, you can always search for the stories. One tip on that is, if you do an advanced search (by clicking new search after you've tried one, and then advanced search on the new search page), you can reorder the results by relevancy (the default) or date.

Oliver Hardy

Mr. White,
It was a good idea on your part to interact with the bloggers here on the blogs by posting your comments. Instead of one way communications, you now have two way communication between the bloggers and the newspaper. Two way communication is a much better way to share ideas and generate more comments. When I find a particular blog that I favor, I will put it into my favorites list so that I can refer to it later to see if any more people commented on the story. What firelands411 mentioned about Paypal might be a good idea. Many former Sandusky residents moved away to other states for various reasons and may want to read further into a story. 50 cents doesn't buy much these days anymore except for a newspaper. Instead of a monthly or year's subscription, why not use Paypal to allow people to read the e-Paper for one day only instead of buying a subscription? Try to get the other staff members involved with two way communications with the bloggers as it may provide some interesting reading.


How is it that *every* other newspaper in Ohio can support themselves online through advertising, except the SR? I find this fascinating that the SR claims they cannot. For me, it just means that this is my 5th or 6th stop for information instead of my 1st, and when I choose to run classifieds, I look to other area papers that has their act together.