Lately I’ve been seeing a lot of MSM (digital) pushing back with subscriptions, and I can’t say I (totally) disagree with them. Just their subscription model.
For me at least, their biggest problem is just that they hope they can convert people to paid subscribers to read all their stories. It suffers from the same problem as vendors like FoxTel, NetFlix and the like. They want you to commit to paying them a fixed and continuing fee for their media, where 1) they may not house all the media you want, and 2) you may not want almost all of the media they house. When I last considered renewing my $65/month FoxTel subscription and did some research, I realised neither they nor any other outlet offered all (or even 60%) of the TV I like to watch. How can they compete with torrents with that score?
To an extent I feel for them, and they (at least some of them) are scrambling to re-engineer their offering to be more relevant to this age. They just need to go one step further and accept (and embrace) the fact that many potential readers are not going to become permanent paid subscribers. However I believe many (like me) wouldn’t blink at the thought of paying them a few bucks (the cost of a reading coffee; the cost of a phone app; the cost of a song download) every time we click through to an article that piqued our interest. They can keep their subscription models – if I realise I’ve just paid a specific media outlet a certain amount each month, I’d likely opt to save money in future by becoming one of their paid subscribers.
They just need a decent micro payments model. Phone apps and music downloads can do it, so why not media?