OLD Media Moves

Long Island Business News switching to paid model for online

August 28, 2009

The Long Island Business News, which has offered its content for free online, is switching to a paid model on Sept. 8.

Publisher John Kominicki writes, “We’ve been pretty excited about the performance of our Web site over the past year. We’ve built a dedicated audience of more than 60,000 readers, a big number for a newspaper that barely ever topped 12,000 in weekly circulation.

“But giving away the news hasn’t turned out to be much of a business model. Many advertisers are still reluctant to run online, and those that do are not willing to pay anything near the prices we command in print. Worse, our renewal and new-subscriber numbers are slipping as readers realize they can get much of what we offer for free online.

“Even more troubling: Members of the staff are asking for pay raises.

“If all goes to plan, some of the 60,000 will convert to paid subscriptions, and the rest will keep coming back to read free headline news and, we hope, visit our advertisers. If you’re already a paid subscriber, we encourage you to find your seven-digit code, which is printed each week on your mailing label, and have it handy. If you’re not a subscriber, well, why not avoid the rush?

“The decision to lock down the site has not been popular with some members of the staff, primarily the journalists, who believe they have an inalienable right to be read by as many people as possible. I started out as a reporter and understand: In our business, ego must often fill in for decent wages. Now, as publisher, I have to argue that we must focus on people willing to pay for what we write, even if that number proves to be smaller.”

Read more here.

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