Newsday Disaster: The future of Barbados internet news?

Newsday, the 10th ranking newspaper in the USA in terms of circulation, spent US$4 million revamping its website last October before going to a pay format of $5 a week for full access. (Newsday.com)

So after three months, how many paid subscribers does Newsday’s website enjoy?

35

That’s right: “Thirty-five” – as in about a bus-load of people heading into the city – producing gross revenues of US$175 per week on an investment of US$4 million. (New York Observer – After 3 months only 35 subscriptions for Newsday’s website)

I’m not sure what that means when the kind of talent you can hire for $4 million dollars produces that kind of results. They probably thought they had it all figured out. Undoubtedly they produced the projected growth charts with the little circles, lines and arrows to convince the bosses to invest big money – but how could they blow it so badly?

Perhaps it means that the internet is still a crap shoot for news organisations.

What does it mean for newspapers in Barbados? I guess it means that in a small market like this island, newspapers can’t expect any direct revenue generation from their web presence – at least nothing worth talking about.

Maybe that’s why The Nation’s web presence has shrunk to a fraction of what it was only two years ago with the paper’s website displaying only a handful of articles compared to the printed dead tree edition. Maybe they don’t see the internet as being worth it. Google searches seldom if ever return Nation online articles anymore because the newspaper’s website is set up to block search engines.

Similarly the Barbados Advocate publishes only a few articles online. The .jpg photos of the entire newspaper don’t really count because they are structured to prevent indexing by search engines. This means that the two largest newspapers have for the most part abandoned representing our country to the world on the internet. They leave this task and responsibility to other websites and the blogs.

Once again, I don’t know what it all means, but it’s something to think about as we hear rumours of another newspaper being born in Barbados.

Further Reading

Talk about synchronicity… as I finished writing this article I was Googling “freedom of the press” and I came across an old BFP article about the media by Sungoddess… Sungoddess Says “Let The Traditional Media Die… No Longer Serves The Interests Of The Common Man…”

4 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Barbados News & Media, Freedom Of The Press, News Media

4 responses to “Newsday Disaster: The future of Barbados internet news?

  1. The internet has been built on freeness and when one organization ask you to pay , customers know that there are 10 others who will offer you similar content for free. These news agencies should know that. Even the whole sign up for free access business sort of fail cause who wants to go through all that hassle of entering passwords etc. The only way for them to make an impact online is to try for Ad money.

  2. huh?

    http://www.barbadostoday.bb is the new newspaper u were talking about I think.

    I believe it is staffed by Roy Morris and a number of Nation Fontabelle Alumni

  3. Sue Thompson

    Less than 23% U.S. users are willing to pay to access online news content. I believe that is because most online content is not worth paying for – just the same stories being repeated for free.

    Researchers predict that by 2013 mobile phones will overtake PC’s for common web access.

    Mobile users click far less than PC users – so the next challenge for news organizations and other websites will be to format their online content for smaller screens such as mobile phones and e-readers.

    The main problem with major U.S. newspapers is that they have not embraced or understood the value of online content, or ad revenue for decades. At the same time, newspaper delivery in the real world has been shrinking – several major cities in the U.S. no longer have newspapers.

    Newspapers like the Wall Street Journal & New York Times are in a better position for paid subscriptions because they have an international audience, and top journalists who actually write breaking stories and interesting articles. A lot of their readers are wealthy people and businesses who can either write off or just absorb the subscription expense.

    I think the paid model will only work for those who understand where technology is headed, and those who actually have journalists who can bring exclusive news to their readership.

  4. Say what?

    I think when BFP says “we hear rumours of another newspaper being born in Barbados” they have their tongues in their cheeks.