Should News Organizations Consider A Bundle Package?

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Mark Cuban says that the newspaper industry can learn from the cable and satellite industries on paid content.

Here is a hard cold fact of the internet age. Any content creator whose sole business is selling their content al a carte will have a hard time surviving. In a world of unlimited digital choice, the cost of creating and marketing content that generates a profit is expensive and difficult. Which is exactly why the successful sites have been aggregators.

Its also exactly why newspapers are having a hard time making it. They sell papers 1 at a time. They sell home subscriptions one at a time. When they charge for monthly subscriptions online, they sell them one at a time. That’s a tough business.

Its not that the newspaper content is not worth it. The problem is that it requires prospective buyers to first value the content, then decide whether they want to go through the hassle of going to a newstand, calling the home delivery department of the paper, or putting in their credit card information to buy online. This may be beyond a solvable problem when much of the same content is available online for free.

So what to do ?

Here’s his plan:

So what does this have to do with newspapers ? They should be knocking on the doors of cable and satellite providers offering their subscribers exclusive access to the online versions of their newspapers. Thats right, the New York Times should be going to CableVision, Time Warner, Comcast, Charter, Directv, Verizon, ATT, Echostar et al, and offer to each that for 25c per month for those subscribers in the New York area, and for 5 c per month for those outside the immediate NYCity area, their subscribers will get exclusive access to the NY Times Online. Non subscribers will get what Wall Street Journal non subscribers get today, access to some content, but not the most timely or valuable content.

So, what do you think about all of this?

Here’s more from the Chicago Tribune.

I’m now a believer in the cable TV model. News organizations that generate significant original content should band together for their own survival and sell group subscription packages for unlimited access to their stories, photos, videos, archives and other offerings.

For, say, $10 a month, a subscriber would have a choice of, say, 50 participating local, regional and national newspapers, magazines, radio and TV stations. Another $5 might buy an additional 50 outlets, and so on.

Why the bundling? Because the online subscription model doesn’t work for most individual media companies. Readers just browse over to similar, free sites to avoid the hassle and the expense, however minor.

I don’t think this conversation is going to go away. What can news organizations learn from bundled online packages? Will it work?

H/T John Carney

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