Lynch, Deirdre (2006) Subscription for online Newspapers. Success or not? Diploma thesis, National College of Ireland.
In many ways, new electronic communication technologies have brought about unprecedented changes to the newspaper industry. Increasingly web based content and newspaper sites are turning to a subscription based business model. This dissertation will examine the factors that influenced The Irish Times newspaper to turn to a subscription based business model for their website Ireland.com and potential consumers’ opinions about such paid services.
The author has written an Ireland.com case study to examine how Ireland.com has evolved from The Irish Times website to Ireland.com vertical portal. The case study examined the business model of Ireland.com and traced the steps involved in moving from a registration model to a subscription model, with a detailed examination of the effects of changes on Ireland.com.
An online survey which was conducted on Ireland.com targeting existing subscribers to Ireland.com. The objective was to establish how subscribers perceive the existing ‘premium content’ subscription package, in terms of quality and value, to establish why they are willing to pay for content online.
The results of this survey (which had a 15% response rate - demonstrating loyalty from their subscribers) has led the author to the conclusion that Ireland.com subscribers are willing to pay for news content online, as they perceive the content as being of the highest quality and delivered in an unbiased fashion leading to overall perception of value, in the minds of their subscribers. Ireland.com subscribers are well educated, in the ABCi bracket and are working or self employed, are loyal to Ireland.com brand which represents quality, unbiased news with valuable added services i.e. premium email, breaking news, Irish Times newspaper and their 10 yr archive service.
As borne out by the case study and the level of response to the online survey, together with the level of subscriptions and subscription-based, added value services, it is clear that the subscription model employed at Ireland.com is indeed a success. Subscriptions account for 31% of revenue for Ireland.com.
Ireland.com is one of the first Irish portal sites to successful implement the subscription ipqdel. Ireland.com have a loyal customer base so adding extra value to their products and services are a number one priority with Ireland.com. However, Ireland.com has had their up and downs, with the streamlining of the organisation in 2002, due to financial pressures. Heavy investment is still required on the part of The Irish Times (parent company) if Ireland.com are to maintain their position in the marketplace, as one of the leading web portals for news content online, in Ireland.
Todays under 25 year olds are also the first generation to have grown up with the internet and attracting them to static media like newspapers can be difficult. In the online world of infinite content, only time will tell if young readers adopt newspapers and their websites as their main source for content or if their competitors publish a more alluring product tailored to the desires of youth.
Actions (login required)