Daily Links and Deals: Lots Of Newspapers Discovering That Paywalls Don’t Work

daily_links_1Today, a look why paywalls aren’t working for newspapers. Also, Google is ditching Hangouts in favor of You Tube Live and launching a Facetime alternative and two articles on how the numbers for cable subscribers and library users in the UK are falling. In deals, luggage and backpack deals and continued back to school deals on Kindles and Fire tablets.

Daily Links for Tuesday, August 16, 2016:

Lots Of Newspapers Discovering That Paywalls Don’t Work (Techdirt) Any more, people read articles, they don’t read magazines and newspapers in the same way they used to….

Google is ditching ‘Hangouts On Air’ in favor of YouTube Live (The Next Web) The end is coming fast.

Every major cable TV company lost subscribers last quarter (Ars Technica) ISPs, however, are doing just fine. Cord-cutters still need the internet.

Google launches Duo, its cross-platform answer to FaceTime, for Android and iOS (PC World) Let’s see if this app can take on Facetime and Skype.

Adult library usage falls ‘significantly’ across all groups (The Bookseller) It is very likely that the catastrophic number of library closings in the UK is affecting this number.

Deals of the Day:

Amazon’s selection of Kindle Daily Deals includes Tidewater Inn (The Hope Beach Series Book 1) by Colleen Coble.

In Today’s Deals, up to 60% off luggage and backpacks and deals on iOttie car mount phone holders.

Back to school savings on select Kindles, Fire tablets and Alexa devices. For a limited time, get $15 off the regular price of the Amazon Tap and $20 off the basic Kindle and the Kindle Paperwhite.  You can also find savings on the Fire HDX 8.9 Tablet (Wi-Fi and 4G LTE),  the Fire HD 6 Tablet and the Fire Kids Edition Tablet.

The Barnes and Noble Nook Daily Find is The Shift: One Nurse, Twelve Hours, Four Patients’ Lives by Theresa Brown.       The Romance Daily Find is Unleashed by Rachel Lacey.

Kobo’s Daily Deal is Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget by Sarah Hepola. The Extra Daily Deal is Foods That Cause You to Lose Weight The Negative Calorie Effect by Neal Barnard, M.D.

iTunes’ Weekly Bestsellers Under $4 includes Marley & Me by John Grogan.

Google Books has a Sensational Sci-Fi Sale, a selection of SF books under $4.

(A note on Daily Deals: All prices current at the time of posting and subject to change. Most items marked Daily Deals are good for only the day posted.

Many large promotions have discount pricing that is set by the publisher. This usually means that titles can be found at a discount price across most platforms (with iTunes sometimes being the exception). If you have a favorite retailer you like to patronize, check the title on that website. There is a good chance that they will be matching the sale price.)


Daily Links are interesting links I discover as I go about my online day. The frequency and number of links posted depend upon the daily news. I also post other, different links of interest on Twitter, Facebook, and on the Google Plus eBook Evangelist Page.

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Are micropayments a viable way to support the news business?

break-18987_1280Jane B. Singer, City University London

Journalism is in an existential crisis: revenue to news organisations has fallen off a cliff over the past two decades and no clear business model is emerging to sustain news in the digital era.

In the latest in our series on business models for the news media, journalist and academic Jane Singer looks at the use of micropayments.

Once upon a time, the gap between the relatively low supply of something in high demand – timely and trustworthy information – generated enormous profits for news publishers. But over the past 15 years or so, the digital, social and mobile revolutions have all but obliterated that gap.

In response, publishers have scrambled for new revenue streams, and much recent attention has turned to “micropayments” – the payment of a very small amount to access a comparably small bit of content, such as a single story.

The traditional media world is one of bundled information, with a lot of diverse content in one package that aims to provide something for everyone. The digital world, though, is an unbundled one. It enables each individual to select one item at a time from among the billions of things on offer. Are we willing to pay for this content? Sometimes yes – see iTunes.

But the question for news outlets is whether personalised news can follow the lead of personalised entertainment in generating interest and – in their fondest dreams – income.

Blendle is poised to take on the US market.
Blendle

So far, news micropayment initiatives are – at best – a work in progress. The most buzz has been around a Dutch service called Blendle, which claims half a million registered users in Europe and is poised to tackle the US market. Most items on Blendle, which come from diverse outlets, cost between 10 cents and 90 cents and come with a money-back guarantee: you only pay for stories you actually read – and if you then don’t like them, you can ask for your pennies back.

The slick interface appeals to fans, as does the lack of advertising (and advertising’s attendant clickbait). But others have flatly predicted the concept is doomed to fail. News consumers want to pay nothing, they say, and even a very small amount of money is not nothing.

Who pays the piper?

But perhaps the model here is not an “iTunes for journalism”, if by journalism we mean big-name branded content. Perhaps a crowdfunding site such as Kickstarter offers a better template – the ability for users to stack their coins behind ideas they want to see developed rather than existing stories they want to read.

Experiments with crowdfunded journalism have proliferated. One flavour is essentially a low-cost membership model that allows its member – or donors – to steer journalists to topics of interest. MinnPost, a non-profit site in Minnesota, has made good use of this approach. For instance, a New Americans beat, which covers the state’s immigrant and refugee communities, was launched last October based on pledges from interested donors.

In Scotland, a new investigative journalism site called The Ferret also pursues topics that its users say they want; fracking was an early example. And in the Netherlands, de Correspondent drew donations of more than a million euros in just eight days simply on the promise of delivering high-quality stories about important topics rather than “the latest hype”.

The other approach reverses the process, in a way, and is closer to the familiar crowdfunding concept – journalists propose ideas they would like to pursue and users back the ones they like. Stories that meet their funding target get written; those that don’t, don’t. Perhaps the most innovative example came from a British site called Contributoria, backed by the Guardian Media Group. Over a period of 21 months in 2014 and 2015, Contributoria published nearly 800 articles on topics from urban regeneration in Beirut to a day in the life of a bookie; its writers earned a total of £260,000 over that time, most of it built up from quite small individual payments.

Sustainability

However, such experiments have proved hard to sustain. Contributoria closed in October 2015, with its co-founder declaring that crowdfunding was just one piece of the puzzle. What the initiative really showed, he told journalism.co.uk, was that people have a “voracious appetite … to be part of the journalism process, including the way it gets financed”.

Perhaps that is, for now, the takeaway point on micropayments. The desire being given voice is less about paying for journalism than for having a stake in it. News organisations fervently hope that stake will be financial, but for users, “ownership” of the news seems more important than the payment involved.

As information proliferates wildly, consumers are saying they want a sense of control over it. Digital media gives them the ability to be reporters, but mostly, they seem to want to be editors: the gatekeepers who decide what news they will see by commissioning a freelance article, or steering an investigative team toward a topic, or engaging with this niche news app but not that one.

Getting the mix right

For news organisations, then, micropayments are just one option among many in a fragile and fractured digital ecosystem – something to add to the revenue mix if doing so requires only small investments of time, effort or money.

While experimentation is all to the good, the pay-off from this option seems inherently small. The vast majority of online users do not pay now for digital news and have no plans to change their ways. There’s no evidence of a massive demand from users for the ability to pay upfront to read news content – and, even if there were, the small amount of revenue generated on any given day would fluctuate considerably depending on what was on offer. This is not the most desirable funding model for organisations that need a stable financial base to support staff, infrastructure and the ongoing ability to hold the powerful to account.

The reverse option – enabling news consumers to steer the direction of journalistic investigations – seems more plausible and the various non-profit enterprises I’ve mentioned are among those offering examples of ways this might work.

But news users aren’t the only ones who like to be in control. Journalists tend to be fiercely committed to the notion of editorial independence – which is another way of saying that they like to decide for themselves what is and isn’t news. Whether they will be willing to share that control – and, if so, what they might be able to extract from users in exchange – remains to be seen.The Conversation

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article. Re-posted under a CC 4.0 license.

Daily Links: Newsonomics – Can you get readers to pay a dollar a day for digital news?

daily_links_1Newsonomics: Can you get readers to pay a dollar a day for digital news? (Nieman Lab) – Paywalls in general and paying for local news in particular are thorny issues. Is this approach a bit of a shakedown?

Mattel View Master is a blast from the past (Gear Diary) – Okay, who can resist this one? Probably not the nostalgic grownups….

Windows Turns 30: A Visual History (ReCode) – Has it really been that long?

Could the Hunger Games turn your teen into a revolutionary? (The Conversation) – Isn’t it interesting the reaction that dystopian lit gets from many parents?

And my Kindle book find of the day is the unusual vampire novel  Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist. Lindqvist has been referred to as “the Swedish Stephen King” and this one is a gem! The original Swedish film is highly recommended as well.

Daily Links are interesting links I discover as I go about my online day. The frequency and number of links posted depend upon the daily news. I also post other, different links of interest on the Google Plus eBook Evangelist Page.

Daily Links: Paying for news with your privacy

daily_links_1Think you’re reading the news for free? New research shows you’re likely paying with your privacy  (The Conversation) – Yes, I have been stalked by a pair of shoes – and a piece or two of furniture as well.

Cord cutters cut off from presidential debates (CNET) – Media is changing and the debates are one area where online viewing has not caught up.

UK gov’t promises all homes will have legal right to 10Mbps broadband by 2020 (Ars Technica) – The big question is can the UK actually pull this off?

An Archive of 10,000 Cylinder Recordings Readied for the Spotify Era (Hyperallergic) – Yes, you can actually listen to (and download) works from this amazing collection from the UCSB Library.

On Amazon, the Kindle, the Paperwhite and the Kindle Kids bundle are all $20 off  until Wednesday.

Daily Links are interesting links I discover as I go about my online day. The frequency and number of links posted depend upon the daily news. I also post other, different links of interest on the Google Plus eBook Evangelist Page.