Friday, September 25, 2009

MNG Decides to Charge Online

Dean Singleton, CEO of MediaNews Group which includes the nine newspapers of the Los Angeles Newspaper Group, said Thursday that MNG has decided to start charging for at least some online content on each of the MNG websites.

The comments from the typically media-shy Singleton came in a short interview with the Salt Lake Tribune (another MNG outlet).


In previous statements, Singleton had said that MNG was considering charging for some online 'premium' content.

"We can't continue to give everything away for free," Singleton told the Salt Lake Tribune. "When you give it away for free, it has no value. When you begin charging for it, it has some value."

Singleton said that each MNG paper would most likely move into the future with two sites, one for free that offers breaking news and some user-generated content, and one that charges, populated with what Singleton describes as the "most valuable content" -- sports, hyper-local news, and maybe even entertainment news.


Anonymous said...

Good luck with that one uncle no one will bother to look at the website.

Joseph Dickson said...

No kidding, the content management system never worked properly the advertisements would hold up page loading because of improper implementation. Simple article postings would often take up to a minute to load on DSL connections.

All of which were constant issues Denver let slide when planning upgrades to the system in return each paper would start using 3rd party services that slowed the page load times down even more.

If MNG plans on charging for their online content I'd suggest spending more time on repairing obvious flaws in the sites core coding.

Anonymous said...

At some level, I understand the argument - if the content has value, it's not unreasonable to expect to get something for it.

Whether visitors are the right place to carve out your profits is the question. The current newspaper model isn't built around profits derived from subscriptions or circulation, so not only are they trying to shift from print to web, but they're trying to upend the revenue stream at the same time. That might be too many variables to juggle all at once, especially given the current financial picture.

But the final point goes back to the original premise behind their decision:

"If the content has value, it's not unreasonable to want something for it."

That's a pretty big "if" at this point. The value of the content has been under constant attack for years now, from cutbacks and other cost-saving measures that have eaten away at the core business in favor of sparing the executives and corporate structure that has contributed nothing to the end product. It just might be the case that the true market value for MediaNews content is now below the threshold of profitability. Time will tell.

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