Post-Gazette’s Premium PG+ Service Profitable But No ‘Holy Grail’
October 18, 2010 Leave a comment
A year into its subscription-based PG+ service, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has learned a few things about charging for content online:
- Profitability is possible, if only modestly so, with incremental online services that control costs.
- Niche content beats general interest. And sports is the king of the niches, at least in Pittsburgh.
- The most promising path to the future of newspaper business models begins with the “s” at the end of the word “model.”
The paper launched PG+ Sept. 1, 2009, with content not previously found on the paper’s website, including blogs and chats by sports columnists, an early rough by editorial cartoonist Rob Rogers and a few other features that have since been switched to the free site.
“We didn’t want to just put a pay wall around our website and cross our fingers,” Post-Gazette President Chris Chamberlain told me in a recent phone interview. “We wanted to test the waters of paid content and do it in a way that created new value as opposed to taking it away.”
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