5 Ways to Find the Right Pricing Strategy

Though it seems simple on the surface, the amount you charge for your content can make a big difference in your audience’s response to and consumption of it. There are many factors to take into account past covering costs. Here are some things to think about when setting prices for your premium digital content that can maximize revenue and keep your audience coming back.

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CNPA & CoinTent

We are excited to announce our partnership with the California Newspaper Publishers Association. CNPA represents over 1,300 California Newspapers and together they fight to maintain quality free press in the digital era.

“Consumer revenue is an increasingly important component of our member newspapers, and we’re thrilled to be partnering with CoinTent to help our papers continue improving their digital business models,” said Tom Newton, CNPA executive director.

We look forward to working with CNPA’s members to reimagine the digital paywall.  Check back as we announce our first launches with their members!

make money beyond advertising

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Round Up: Political Native Ads & Paying to hide Adblock

Where is Native Advertising Now?

Buzzfeed announces it’s going to start accepting political native advertising. The US already has a lack luster informed political discourse, Buzzfeed is not helping to move the country in the right direction. So much for Buzzfeed trying to move to become a more serious platform for news.

Adblock gets blocked

City AM, a UK newspaper, blocks adblockers from reading on their website. It’s easy to understand both the publisher’s and readers’ frustrations. City AM is now directly asking users, “do you value our content?”, will readers say yes?

Is Youtube the new Netflix?

Youtube is asking the same question, is our content worth paying for, but a little more gently (for now).  They are offering their content, ad free, for $9.99 a month.  They added a few incentives, Google Music and offline & background viewing, to sweeten the deal. Hopefully this will be one more nudge for people to start valuing great content. Adblock has made even the giants take notice.


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Micropayments for Content Enable Your Site’s Full Potential

Micropayments for content enable your site's full potential

As ad-blocking continues to increase in popularity, content providers are scrambling to monetize their website. In an internet-enabled world with myriad options available, specialized content takes additional time and effort to produce. Many websites have a great product but often fail to turn their unique strengths into a viable form of revenue.

For those just starting out, deciding how to monetize in a practical and appealing way can be a daunting task. In order to avoid succumbing to banner ads, pop-ups and auto-playing commercials, news publications have tried to put much of their content behind a paywall, with limited success. Obviously, you wouldn’t want to offer all your content for free, but implementing paywalls indiscriminately only turns people away. Micropayments for content allow for a viable source of revenue and fuels the potential to develop your website to its fullest capabilities.

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Media Round Up – NYT leads the way, Ads get more competition

Doubling (Down on) Digital

The New York Times announced their new strategy to build their revenue, and users, and they are focusing on digital. They are standing behind their belief that by doing journalism better, they can woo readers into direct support of their products. NYT is also continuing to change how they package their product, recognizing ‘one size fits all’ is no longer a good business model.

Are ads on their way out?

Youtube is joining the ranks of sites swapping ads for subscriptions.  But it is giving content creators little choice in the matter, they either agree to a no ad version by October 22 or they won’t be able to use ads either.  While their methods are a little strong armed, it’s good to see a company committing to trying new models.

Would you pay for no ads? What about less ads? Google tries to make a case that users will notice and pay for less ads. At first I was excited about the idea, but I’m not sure I would notice 5%-15% less ads, the reduction their lowest price point, $2,  would offer.  I’m hoping their is a pricing test out for this.

Less is More

Google announced AMP their answer to slow mobile web and Facebook’s Instant Articles. They are hoping to create a framework where site owners building static content can’t make a bad webpage. There are definitely some good sentiments to the idea, but this won’t help most sites. No Javascript, it may show images, maybe not if they are too slow, limited CSS. These constraints work for static pages but 99% of the web you use depends on JS.

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Media Round Up

Fashion is often about hiding the work that goes into looking great. That is just as true for fashion bloggers. And when business is hard and money is tight, sometimes their advice isn’t entirely from the heart. Without direct support from fans their promotions are tainted by the needs for sponsors.

A case for ads is made by BTIG Research. It is true some people do enjoy watching some ads (the Super Bowl is a prime example). But it is a little disingenuous to stand behind that as a strategy for all ads. The return on investment  probably won’t be there if every ad has to be as well crafted as Super Bowl ads. Also the reason great ads stand out is in part because we spend so much time forced to watch crappy ones. Better ads would be nice, but I don’t think they are going to end ad blockers

Metered paywalls are falling out of fashion and cheaper introductory subscriptions are starting to take over. This may not be the silver bullet but it’s good to see the industry trying something new, and not just what worked for the New York Times.



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Media Round Up – iOS 9 is here

Ad blockers are shooting up the charts in the Apple store on the first day iOS 9 was released. Granted those who update on day one are probably a bit more web savvy than most, but what will happen when they help their parents download an ad blocker over the holiday season?

Jeffrey Zeldman of A List Apart points out ad blocking is a bigger battle than it seems.  Apple is trying to take a bite out of Google and Facebook’s domination of the advertising industry.  In the end the question is will the consumer win?

Apple News is fresh out of the box. The question remains, will this help funnel more users to publisher’s apps or will it kill them and resurrect the mobile web versions.

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Media Roundup – Howard Stern, Snapchat & Nielson

Ad blocking went mainstream when Howard Stern told his million person audience about ad blockers. While even if half of those people actually install ad block, this won’t impact ad agencies much, but it’s a sign of a new demographic using the software. That is what will hurt the ad driven business model. Last Christmas you helped your parents navigate Netflix and cut their cable, this Christmas you will be helping your mom install ad block on her iPad.

Snapchat expands their discovery feature,  as they search for more revenue. Engagement with the ads is totally voluntary, for now. The ads are also more complex and high budget, will that last, can Snapchat make money if it slips?

Neilson snags some data on Netflix, but the motivations seem to be a search for more money.  Studios want more for their shows, actors want more from their studios. For now I am on the side of Netflix, I have no interest in helping the studios churn out copies of the same show over and over, or force Netflix to charge more. But that good will depends on maintaining the fierce competition the TV industry is currently embroiled in. Without it Netflix will probably become the next Time-Warner, and we will all be back where we started.

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Power Niche:  The Rise of Micropayments in Fantasy Sports

There are close to 57 million fantasy sports players in the US and Canada. More people will play fantasy sports this year than will smoke a cigarette in the United States, and than will draw breath in Canada. If we gave the fantasy players an average height of 5 feet, 6 inches, their prone bodies would be able to circle the earth two-and-a-half times. These figures and images illustrate the point that the world of fantasy sports is more than a niche, it is a ‘power niche’ that generated over 11 billion dollars from fantasy football alone in 2013. Continue reading

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Media Roundup – Memberships & Ad Revenue

To combat declining ad revenue… four publishers have decided to add advertisements in the comments.  Sounds like they are trying to squeeze the last drops from the stone before  the new version of Safari and its native adblocking. In the meantime I now have one more reason to ignore the comment section.

Zizi Papacharissi, besides having an amazing name, has an amazing point about paywall adoption. No paywall will make your content better, and while you may find a few buyers for a bad product, it won’t be a sustainable business.

A magazine membership without a magazine? National Journal cuts their weekly publication in favor of serving their members directly, providing on demand research and documentation. Can they turn news into a service? Who knows, but at least they are trying something new instead of fading silently into the night.

Commodity? Charity? Business? Fundamental right? How we think of news is changing, and news is in some way all of these things. But maybe positioning a publication as clearly a charity or non-profit is the way of the future.

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