INDenver Times Fails To Reach Goal

INDenver Times  

 

 

INDenver Times

 

Today, the founders of the online newspaper INDenver Times announced that they failed to meet their subscriber goal of 50,000. I believe that they successfully signed up 3,000 paying subscribers.

My questions are numerous here. First of all, I hadn’t even heard of this newspaper — did they advertise? Secondly, they started the company on March 16th of this year. How could they possibly have convinced 50,000 people to subscribe to an online newspaper?

From their site, they explain the subscriber only benefits:

  • Perspective and insight pieces
  • Real time conversation with the editors and journalists
  • Ability to comment on stories
  • Daily emails, alerts, customizable home page

Seriously? I don’t see the value here. These are all “services” that you get for free from the other Colorado online news agencies.

What exactly are “perspective and insight pieces?” How about “unbiased news?” That’s something I’d consider paying for. And real time communication? I subscribe via Twitter to all the news agencies in Denver for free. You can’t get any more real time than that.

Profit from Google Adwords

Profit from Google Adwords

Having been layed off myself in the past (the founders are from the Rocky Mountain News), I sympathize with these writers. However, there are much better ways to monetize their web venture and I won’t just say there are better ways — I’ll give a couple of examples.

  • Real time news. For example have a staff writer monitor the scanners and post the interesting things (minus personal details in some instances) that they hear. Even though they might think we don’t want to hear about the burrito being used as a missle in a Taco Bell parking lot — we do.
  • Sell advertising, display it everywhere and subscribers are spared from viewing them. Yes I know there are plugins for your browser that can do this, but the average internet user has no idea.

There are also many ways to monetize a news website without having to charge the visitor a dime. Remember, that your viewers are your lifeblood. Welcome them into your house and provide them with a better service.

The backers of INDenver Times do intend to adapt to a new business model. What that model is at this point is anyone’s guess. I wish them luck and I hope they succeed.

2 comments to INDenver Times Fails To Reach Goal

  • Kurt,
    I agree completely. I had heard of the website and visited once or twice and thought that it may be a new version of the Rocky. Then, I went to Opening Day at Coors Field and people were handing out business cards that offered a free one month subscription. I thought to myself “are they crazy, the beauty of online news is that it is free.” Sure there are sites that you have to have a subscription to be an “insider,” but the reality is, you can get 95% of those sites content without the subscription.
    The money is not made by the consumer, it is made by the advertisers.

  • They were going for the former subscribers of the Rocky Mountain News. The thinking was, we are the staff of the former Rocky. They used to pay to subscribe to the newspaper, therefore we’ll offer them a subscription to our online paper from the same family of reporters they’ve grown to known and trust.

    With that said, who pays for news on the Internet? I never saw this getting off the ground with that model.

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