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Summary:

According to Press+ data, the average price of a monthly digital subscription is now $9.26 — up from $6.85 at the beginning of 2012. Publishers are also offering fewer articles for free before a user hits a paywall.

RR Donnelley’s Press+, which helps more than 400 publishers offer metered paywalls and manage digital subscriptions, says its clients are charging more for monthly subscriptions while offering fewer articles for free.

“What we’re seeing is a tide sweeping through the industry of publishers lowering their meters and moving to prices that reflect the true value of their content,” Press+ cofounder Gordon Crovitz said in a statement.

Data from the company’s publishers shows that the average price of a monthly subscription was $9.26 in January 2013 — up five percent from July 2012 and 40 percent from July 2011:

press+ 1

In addition, Press+ says its clients are lowering their meters. On average, they offer 10 free articles per month, down from 11 last September and 13 at the beginning of 2012.

It’s worth noting that Press+ works with a lot of large newspaper companies. Pricing is likely to vary at smaller organizations and on blogs like Andrew Sullivan’s Dish (which runs its metered paywall through TinyPass), but it will be interesting to watch whether the trend of upward pricing and fewer free articles occurs across sites.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock / Voronin76 

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  1. The prices need to go up. We need to pay the writers a living wage.

  2. Very interesting article. As always, consumer/business is willing to pay if the content offers values to them – many factors – time, quality, relevance, etc. So, this paywall strategy works only if the (premium) content is attractive enough to the readers. The challenge is how they can track the cost of content and compensate the writer (any content provider) appropriately. The current common model for online media is a combination of fixed fee and click per view.

    On the other hand, traditional presses (e.g. WSJ is leading the pack) are bringing in video content, both built by themselves or partnered with 3rd parties. So, monetizing through new advertising and partner-channels become more a trend to increase revenue.

    In my view, only the newspaper organizations, who stay innovative with their monetization technologies on new media content and channel partner settlement, will win the competition.

  3. The challenge is how they can track the cost of content and compensate the writer appropriately. Common model for online media is a combination of fixed fee and click per view. On the other hand, traditional presses (e.g. WSJ is leading the pack) are bringing in video content, both built by themselves or partnered with 3rd parties. So, monetizing through new advertising and partner-channels become more a trend to increase the revenue. Only the newspaper organizations, who stay innovative with monetization technologies on new media content and channel partner settlement, will the competition.

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