Newsday goes subscriber-only, gets whopping 35 subscribers

Nice Business Model You’ve Got There, Jimmy:

In late October, Newsday, the Long Island daily that the Dolans bought for $650 million, put its web site,, behind a pay wall. The paper was one of the first non-business newspapers to take the plunge by putting up a pay wall, so in media circles it has been followed with interest. Could its fate be a sign of what others, including The New York Times, might expect?

So, three months later, how many people have signed up to pay $5 a week, or $260 a year, to get unfettered access to

The answer: 35 people. As in fewer than three dozen. As in a decent-sized elementary-school class.

Granted, $260 per year is an outrageous fee for a Web site, but the idiots should have realized that long before they went live. The Web site redesign cost $4 million. And they paid $650 million for the newspaper. I guess they were looking at their costs rather than their value to the reader.

If you want a better idea of how to organize an online news organization, read Howard Owens, who approached the idea from the opposite direction – first understand how much revenue you can get from an online newspaper site, then decide how much you can spend on resources.

Hat tip to Ace of Spades.

3 Responses to Newsday goes subscriber-only, gets whopping 35 subscribers

  1. Perpster says:

    A year or so ago Newsday did a major redesign of their website. It went from pretty good and user friendly to SLOW AND SUCKS. They tried to tweak it several times and is still S&S.

    The recent subsriber model is a joke, in the non-funny sense. First of all, Newsday is uber-liberal. The population it serves is not. There is certainly a strong liberal population, but there is a huge middle of the road and smaller strong conservative population that Newsday ignores. It continues to have an way-too-far-to-the-left editorial and reporting policy. They are heavy-handed in censoring comments online, and often do not allow comments at all on non-politically correct stories. It’s local nickname is SnoozeDay.

    Secondly, their site remains clunky and non-user friendly. No one would want to pay that much for the site even if they liked the paper. The Dolans also own Long Island’s main cable provider, Cablevision. They now offer a free online Newsday subscription to hardcopy Newsday subsribers and/or Cablevision subscribers. Very few people that I know of care; it’s still a crappy website.

    Lastly, Cablevision likes to tout how they provide High Definition TV at no extra charge, and how they have the only real local news TV channel and that it will never be on FIOS (phone company DSL) or satellite. Well, I have to laugh, because they still do not offer their own news channel in HD!

  2. Perpster says:

    Sorry, forgot to include that Newsday was caught red-handed 2 or 3 years ago intentionally inflating their hardcopy circulation numbers. I don’t remember if there were criminal charges, but they had to refund major bucks to many advertisers.

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