In this week’s episode we hear from the New Statesman’s digital editor Jasper Jackson about the circumstances that led the popular current affairs magazine to launch a paywall, how the team decided on digital-only extras to lure potential subscribers across, and what the widespread adoption of paywalls says about the state of the news media.
In the news roundup Chris and Peter discuss The London Evening Standard’s £10m loss under its editor George Osborne, whether a news and entertainment bundle can work for Apple, and the great news that Mediargh has returned from hiatus.
We’re taking Media Voices on the road! We’re recording a live show and presenting a podcasting masterclass at Magfest this September. For more information or to book your place, visit www.magfest.co.uk/
In our own words: Chris Sutcliffe
When the New Statesman launched its metered paywall earlier this year, its deputy editor Helen Lewis said that digital advertising alone would not be enough to fund the quality journalism for which the current affairs magazine is known. That truth has been acknowledged for some time now, and more news outlets seem to go behind paywalls each week.
Much has been written about the macro reasons why digital advertising has failed for publishers, but less has been said about the minutiae of launching a paywall itself. What are the considerations that go into launching a metered model, for instance? What are the digital extras that might tempt someone who has never paid for digital news to subscribe for the first time? And what does it mean for open journalism and media plurality if the majority of news publishers go behind paywalls?
To find out I asked the New Statesman’s digital editor Jasper Jackson about the considerations that the team discussed prior to the launch. It was especially interesting to hear his thoughts on how the BBC might well be responsible for the low propensity for the British public to pay for digital news and how differentiation from the BBC and other publishers was at the forefront of the team’s minds during the planning phase.
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