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Kai Ryssdal:The modern media conundrum is pretty well known. How do papers and magazines survive in the digital age? A key part of any answer is going to be figuring out how to charge for online content. And that is getting increasingly complicated. Because between Kindles, and iPads, and smartphones and who knows what that’s just around the corner, publishers have a whole new set of price points to worry about. Or not worry about. This week, the New Yorker said it’s planning to offer a single flat-rate online, all-access subscription.
Marketplace’s Alisa Roth reports.
Alisa Roth: There are a lot of different ways to get The New Yorker each week — in your mailbox, online, from the newsstand. Each one has a slightly different price.
This week, David Remnick, the editor, said the magazine will soon start charging a single flat-rate to access its content across all different platforms.
Peter Kreisky is a media consultant. He says that means for one price, you’ll be able to read it anywhere.
Peter Kreisky: So you register once, and you get it wherever you want to have it.
Kreisky says getting the same rate across different platforms isn’t as hard as you might think. Publishers like Conde Nast just have to negotiate. And if they have strong brands that platforms want to offer their consumers, it makes the negotiating all the easier.
He says the reason other content providers aren’t pricing this way is because they still haven’t figured out the best way to charge for content and keep their readers. He says consumers are willing to pay for content they think is unique or timely.
Kreisky: But they’re not prepared to pay for news and information that’s viewed as more of a commodity, because it’s available free everywhere.
Kreisky says if The New Yorker’s available in so many different ways, it could win the magazine more subscribers.
Rick Edmunds is a media business analyst at the Poynter Institute. He says that could help The New Yorker get what it’s really after — more advertising.
Rick Edmunds: They want to get audience, they want to build brand loyalty, and kind of with recognition that really monetizing that with strong ad revenues is really work of another day.
The New Yorker says it has about a million subscribers, but four million readers.
I’m Alisa Roth for Marketplace.