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Journalism Online’s Private Beta Goes Public; First Press+ Screenshots

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Finally some clarity after months of mystery about possible affiliates and constant questions about whether Journalism Online is reality or vaporware. A private beta has been underway for weeks but JO founders Steve Brill and Gordon Crovitz declined until now to identify any of the affiliates taking part. Turns out the hotbed for possible online pay innovation is The Intelligencer Journal-Lancaster New Era, which is getting ready to put Press+ — the consumer name for JO’s effort — to the test. (For affiliates, the product is known as the Reader Revenue Platform.) The New York Times (NYSE: NYT) published some details about the plans this afternoon but if you want to see what it looks check below for the exclusive screen shots we’ve obtained. (Slide show tour of the subscription process.)

In Lancaster, publisher Steinman Enterprises will charge readers outside the circulation area for access to obits, starting with a certain number free and then requiring a fee. GlobalPost told the NYT it will roll out a version by March that urges voluntary payments. That kind of flexibility is what JO has been promising since the immediately high-profile company was founded last year. Any consumer with a Press+ account should only have to enter payment info once to use the account for any publisher taking part. (Think Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN) One-Click, iTunes, PayPal.) Affiliates will “own” their own customer relationships with JO getting a fee for its technology and services, typically 20 percent but that may vary.


5 Responses to “Journalism Online’s Private Beta Goes Public; First Press+ Screenshots”

  1. jeffhintx

    This is beyond simple…the hard work has already been done for you people.
    The PORN industry has perfected the art and science of the functional paywall, and it works like this:

    One easy to manage “key” or “token” grants the user “all you can eat” access to a basket of different content providers. Subscriptions can be daily, weekly, monthly and annually, and you can either use your credit/debit card or PayPal.
    Some providers even allow the users to build their own “a la carte” basket by choosing from among hundreds and hundreds of participating sites, and the revenue stream is distributed centrally.

    Instead of having to remember hundreds of user names and passwords, and worrying about their payment information being spread all over the place, one simple access token site takes care of it all.

    You guys will just have to figure out how to play well together and design a working distribution model for your revenue streams, and make the subscription reasonably priced, similar to newsstand offerings.

    Like I said, the bricks and mortar have already been laid, just figure out how to tailor it to YOUR specific needs.

    The free market will do the rest.
    So get off your high horses and figure out how to hang together, or else you will all surely hang separately.

    And….you’re welcome.

    Jeffery Haas in Mansfield TX

  2. ernie_schreiber

    It’s a good point. We don’t want Aunt Ethel to pay, and she won’t. Only frequent users, those who are looking at numerous pages per month, will be asked to support the news organization that is bringing them news. The guy who grew up in Lancaster and, from his winter home in Florida, checks the obit pages two or three times a week will be asked to pay a modest sum. The one-time user won’t.

  3. Since they are putting paid advertising (obituaries) rather than editorial content behind a pay wall, what happens when Ethel Stoltzfus tells her brother, Menno, who now lives in Florida, to check out her late-husbands obituary (which she paid for) online… and he can’t? What do you mean “he has to pay”? Me thinks Ethel is going to be just a tad angry.

    To me, putting paid advertising behind a firewall is… well…. questionable. I’ll leave it at that.

    I applaud the “do-something” mindset. I would just start with EDITORIAL content such as opinion or local government coverage.