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Are you happy to pay for trade publications?

Posted by Danny Whatmough on 5th November 2009

new media age announced yesterday a change to its online offering:

new media age has made online access to all its magazine content, apart from opinion, paid-for only. Comment from the magazine, including columnists such as Mark Cridge, Richard Huntington and Nigel Walley, will remain free, in addition to weekly new media age staff columns Farber on Mobile, Bearne on Media and Cooper on Search. Daily breaking news will also remain free for seven days.”

This follows the announcement last week that trade publisher EMAP (owners of titles such as Retail Week, Drapers, Screen and Construction News) is going to put all its B2B puiblications behind a paywall.

Does this move demonstrate the depths to which the media industry in the UK has sunk?

Or is it a smart move by publications where (I expect) subscriptions are generally paid by companies rather than individuals?

In my mind, as I’ve said before, the whole issue boils down to one thing: ‘value’.

I’ll pay for something if I think it is ‘worth it’ and as long as I’m not able to get it somewhere else for free.

Publications like NMA are going to have to prove that their content is sufficiently superior and unique that it justifies the exchange of hard cash.

Obviously for NMA, it makes total sense not to provide online content that subscribers have to pay for in print, for free. But, in the long term, they’ll have to work harder (as print continues its decline) to maintain and increase subscription revenue.

There is a lack of online innovation in my mind amongst traditional print media publishers. Just putting your offline content online isn’t enough anymore. It’ll be interesting to see whether publications like NMA and Retail Week can innovate sufficiently to add value to their online offerings.

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