Why don’t we have a flat-rate model for publishing? This proposal by Gruner + Jahr Digital CEO Arne Wolter made publishers in Germany sit up and take notice recently. Behind closed doors, publishers are continuing to heatedly discuss the idea, but I would fundamentally question this approach – a Netflix or Spotify model for news does not do anyone any justice. A market solution must be able to do more, and I had the opportunity to outline what such a solution should look like in another byline published recently.
- How could any publisher with a complete focus on advertising revenues and reach optimization suddenly acquire expertise in setting up and operating paid content models similar to Netflix?
- A flat rate alone is unlikely to save the media industry and could do more harm than good – even the most loyal subscribers would question whether they should not rather choose the more favorable flat rate package.
- Aggregators decouple the content from the actual medium by presenting a uniform layout. The look and feel of the publication – its branding – simply disappears, and the only brand that wins in a Netflix for News scenario is that of the aggregator.
- In addition, most media houses have justifiable concerns about using a cross-market solution from a competitor.
- Publishers should consider the following regarding a market solution:
- What is the starting position for a cross-market solution?
- Does participation in a market-wide solution strengthen a competitor or a service provider?
- Does participation in a cross-market solution keep your own publishing brand visible?
- Does the solution already exist and, if not, how great is the effort for development, testing and roll-out?
- What does the cross-market solution cost the individual publisher?
- Is the offer actually what the user wants?
- Does the solution meet current data privacy issues, without restricting publishers’ advertising business?
- A successful market solution must be independent, flexible in the possibilities of revenue generation, integrate itself into existing system landscapes without generating horrendous costs, and above all it must be a tool for publishers to deliver on their brand promise and revenue generation goals in a user-friendly way.