Thursday, September 26, 2013

Virginian Pilot Begins Charging for Digital Access - A Step Toward Suicide

Virginian Pilot publisher David Mele
Writing a blog and being contacted by would be advertisers I know one thing:  to get paid for advertising online, the number of page views a blog or publication receives determines advertising rates and ultimately long term viability if making money is the main motivation.  The folks at the Virginian Pilot don't seem to get this reality and/or suffer from the delusion that they are in the same league as the New York Times (10 free articles a month) or Washington Post (20 free article a month).  Hence, going forward, Pilot online readers will get only 10 free articles a month.  

The Daily Press was even more draconian and allowed no free articles.  The result?  I don't even bother to look at the Daily Press and don't link to it at all anymore.  The Daily Press was always an inferior paper, and since sifting to charging for online access there has been a parallel further decline in its content.  Hence, the boyfriend and I dropped our 3 day a week print subscription.  The Daily Press frankly seems headed toward extinction.  The Virginian Pilot seems headed for a similar fate in my view.  Readers should expect a marked drop in this blog's references to and links to the Virginian Pilot.  I hope that helps decrease its page views.  Here's the Pilot's bullshit reasoning:

Our next change begins today, as we implement a new membership model which will require subscriptions for unlimited access to our journalism and content online.

Current subscribers to The Virginian-Pilot will receive membership and full access to our digital content as part of their existing subscriptions, at no additional charge.

For nonsubscribers, we will allow some sampling of our content on a monthly basis, with a system that will require membership to gain access to our digital content after 10 articles are read. Some sections of our websites will remain freely available, including home pages, obituaries, and online marketplaces for jobs, autos, and real estate.

There are plenty of free news outlets where one can find better quality coverage.  Truth be told, the Pilot only cares about selling advertising.  Quality journalism has always been a secondary concern.  Online traffic will seek these out and one can hope that the Virginian Pilot meets the end it deserves as readership declines further and advertisers balk at paying for inferior coverage.

No comments: