Silicon Prairie News

Omaha.com paywall coming soon

Omaha June 28, 2011 by Danny Schreiber Only 13 days until Big Omaha. Get your tickets before they sell out!

If you've had keen eyes these past few months, you may have noticed more and more little blue dots with an "O" appearing on the Omaha World-Herald's website, Omaha.com. Soon, those blue dots, which currently indicate "Premium Content," will signify that the associated article is behind a paywall. (Left, screenshot from Omaha.com.)

For example, here's a screenshot from the front page of Omaha.com today. The second and fifth stories under "Top Stories" are labeled with the blue dots and will fall under the eventual paywall.

Screenshot from omaha.com

Though the paywall isn't currently in effect, World-Herald publisher Terry Kroger in an article today said: "This week, we are taking an important step toward digital subscriptions for our content." Kroger said that "most information on Omaha.com will remain free for all viewers." But to access anything labeled Premium Content, a digital subscription will be required.

"The World-Herald, like daily newspapers across America, has always received a portion of its revenues from subscriptions and single-copy sales," Kroger said. "For more than 125 years, that revenue has supported our ability to gather, report and explain news that cannot be found elsewhere. Digital subscriptions are a logical and overdue extension of that tradition."

When implemented later this week, here's how the digital subscriptions will break down:

  • Current seven-day print subscribers will have the option to pre-pay at least six months in advance ($106.62) to earn an "All-Access" pass, which includes Premium Content and a number of other perks, such as discounts on classifieds and reprints
  • Current seven-day print subscribers who choose to not pre-pay six months in advance will have the option to pay an extra $1.95 on top of their $17.77 per month subscription for "unlimited access to all Omaha.com content"
  • Current non-subscribers and subscribers of any level below the top seven-day subscription will have the option to pay $9.95 per month for "unlimited access on Omaha.com"

We haven't yet spoken with the World-Herald about this decision but plan to reach out to them in the coming weeks. If you have a specific question you'd like us to ask, such as what this might mean for DataOmaha.com (a site of the World-Herald's we've recently covered), please leave it in a comment below.

Also, it's important to note that since May 2010 we've had a content syndication partnership with the World-Herald. At this point, it's our understanding that our syndicated content on Omaha.com, which can be found on right side the Money page, will remain free to all readers.

To read more about the forthcoming paywall, head over to Omaha.com to read the announcement by Kroger: "Subscribe for Premium Content."

Update 10:20 p.m. – To implement the paywall, it appears the World-Herald is using Press+. Here's the pop-up window I recieved after visiting my third Premium Content article of the day:

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COMMENTS

ARCHIVED COMMENTS

I do not claim to know much or be a thought leader in this space but my gut feeling is that if the World Herald wants to thrive in the new economy they cannot be successful by trying to reinvent new uses for 125 year old business models that obviously do not work anymore.

Good luck OWH, I really hope it works for you.

Jun 28, 2011 at 03:26 PM

I no longer live in Omaha, so I'm hardly the target market for their content, but I can't imagine this succeeding. Not even a little bit. They might want to take a nod from their "content syndication partner" and figure out how to get leaner and more profitable on a sustainable model.

Jun 28, 2011 at 03:40 PM

I understand the need to generate revenue from online services. But it appears that they are charging the people that support them the most, the current subscribers, twice. Wouldn't a single subscription to both print and on-line make more sense?

Jun 28, 2011 at 04:44 PM
Brian W

Now there will be two versions of the OWH that I'm not interested in paying for.

Jun 28, 2011 at 04:48 PM
Cody Peterson

Yeah, you can't charge your current subscribers twice. Strange move.

Jun 28, 2011 at 06:19 PM
Tom

Is this a revenue strategy, or a strategy to protect the print product?

Jun 29, 2011 at 12:51 AM
Marv

I don’t have any problems with this system if they think it can work, but my question is- are they taking away from one revenue stream and moving it to a different stream? By adding the Premium tag to half or more of the non-AP stories (which appears to be the case) they are going to slowly kill off all of their out of market visits who only peak at Omaha.com when they are referred to a story of interest. i.e. Chatelain writes a column criticizing Ohio State’s substation patterns- Ohio junkies catch wind of the article and head on over to Omaha.com to set fire to the article. If this article is premium, Omaha.com loses out on this page visit and the inflated statistics the online sales staff brags about will go down the pot; thus affecting online ad sales.

I’m not advocating a business model that is based around people outside of the paper’s target audience, but they better have a plan in place to make MORE money and not just move money from one place to another.

Jun 29, 2011 at 09:41 AM

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