Many CEO’s try and answer the question, what type of information or service will their subscribers pay for? To answer this question I asked myself, as a user, what would I pay a content provider for. The answer, I would pay for a source that gives me access to the information I need instantaneously. It would work something like this:
1.)Type in a word or phrase, and get an Search Engine Results Page (SERP) that gives stories on that word or phrase, as well as web pages, scholarly articles, etc, ranked by either date, importance or whatever other personal preference.
2.)These results should be smart, meaning that they need to be useful to the reader. All the content should be accessible and the content provider needs to figure out a way to identify which content his audience will find useful.
3.)In the results, the provider should highlight the section of the document the searcher might be interested in. (Maybe modify the spiders to crawl the pages, and identify and highlight these sections) So if you type in ‘roster of Manchester UTD,’ and the page gives us links, within these links, highlight what bots crawled that made algorithm determine that page was relevant to the search, or where the information is to serve the purpose of cutting down scanning time so users can easily and quickly determine what’s relevant or not.
4.)All links provided, must be usable. If a customer subscribes to your newspaper, then their username and login should give them access to all links, lexis nexus, wsj, scholarly articles, etc, so all information returned to them is usable and relevant.
5.)Readers should have access to the content anywhere and on any platform.
Essentially you are becoming an all in one search news subscription service. After reading this the first thing that comes to mind is I am describing Google’s service. Well yes, you are no longer in the news business, but rather the information business. In this new field with Google as the head honcho, it may seem like a daunting task, however there are ways to add value to your service to compete with Google.
For one provide useful and relevant content, and be everywhere. Exclusive deals such as Apple and AT&T will not work, as you limit your reach. One of Google’s main advantages is that it is ubiquitous, meaning you can use it no matter where you are, or what service or platform you are using.
Next, add value to your service. Make all information relevant and accessible. Like the username and login that gets you access to other sites, which require subscriptions, like research or lexis nexus etc. Google does not do this… yet! Make your pages smart and individuate the customer so that the ads they see are not intrusive and are also relevant and match their interest. Cut your print, or minimize it, because it is just an added cost. The future is flexi paper anyway. Boy scouts motto: Be Prepared. Make the information you provide available on all platforms so that no matter what you are using, be it a cell phone, a computer, or a radio the content can be accessed from it.
Finally set up a micropayment system, where you make purchasing easy for the subscriber. It is easier for the conscious buyer to click once to make a purchase, then to have to go through multiple pages. Each page gives them another opportunity to change their mind. The iTunes model is a great example. Set up a purchase account for your subscribers, which then makes buying a matter of clicking. This makes shopping more impulsive. Amazon recently adopted that model with its 1-click purchase.