Unlike the New York Times, TV by the Numbers will not be instituting a pay wall for our content. Starting on March 28, readers of more than 20 NYT articles a month will be asked to pay $15 to use the website (with various pricing for other methods of access).
Monetizing online content is a dilemma for big corporate news organizations. Over time, they can’t expect to get radically higher internet ad CPMs than anybody else online. How can the big guys make any profit online when they have the fixed costs that the little guys do not?
It’s not really the content competition. There’s plenty of content you’ll only find online at the NYT, but what you won’t find, in the long run, is online ads netting them a lot more money than anywhere else. There’s some inertia built into the system that’s keeping their ad rates higher than ours (and others) for now, and they may be able to sustain some level of premium, but it won’t be 10x what everybody else can get.
And it’s not just big legacy news organizations that face this dilemma, bigger “corporate” online only sites do too. As an example, two of us maintain TVBTN, and we did about 7 million pageviews and 1.3 million unique visitors in the past month. How many “corporate” online sites generate 3.5 million pageviews and 650,000 unique monthly visitors per worker? Any that hope to be competitive in the long term will need to. And that’s not because we’re anything special, it’s because there’s plenty of other “little guys” that are as cost efficient as we are, and there will be more.