The Death of the Paperboy

The entire business model for content publishers has been turned on its head. The model of how content is consumed has moved from a ‘push’ model to what can now be considered ‘pull.’ People now expect to see what they ask for, when they ask for it. Where previously we were given something, now we are going online and looking for content ourselves – the stories we like, the news we want to hear, the writers we prefer. Publishers need to focus on a business model that is user-centric, making the consumer of content a bigger priority than the publisher. And there is no option but to give the freedom to choose to consumers because they expect it.

Key Points

  • The publishing industry is still reveling in its past glory, that golden age when the news was delivered by hand and they had a captive audience, reliant on having the news brought to them.
  • Today, we consume everything online, but publishers still think in terms of consumer loyalty and prioritize being the only location a consumer will come to for content.
  • Our real-world pattern of consumption no longer fits within the traditional publishing model – the model of how content is consumed has flipped, moving from a ‘push’ model to what can now be considered ‘pull.’
  • Users are now asking for something specific and, in return, they expect to get something specific back.
  • A subscription is the sign of willingness as a loyal reader to consume something users really like/want. A paywall amounts to a user-hostile way to punish users who actually qualify as customers. But they continue to represent the publisher’s instinctive strategy for generating revenue.
  • The idea that the only way to consume content is through a subscription is outdated. Instead, publishers need to adapt in order to survive, embracing a variety of strategies and models of how to serve their audience.
  • It is time to put convenience at the center and allow truly frictionless access to content, offering content in models that accurately reflect the user’s consumption behavior.
  • There is a whole universe living between ads and subscriptions – it’s time for user-centric models that allow readers to consume content seamlessly, in a manner they want to consume it. 

Check out my full article here.

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