I remember back in the day a number of news websites, the New York Times and the Washington Post included, added registration to their sites. It was long before commenting was common, but the strategy was all about capturing some information, some data, to know more about their audiences.
The Financial Times understands this, which is one of the reasons that it is killing it, and the FT’s CEO John Ridding explains to Poynter how their paid content strategy has helped them capture more data and how that data is helping them deliver more to their audiences.
I don’t think we really understood the power of the data and the audience understanding that came with the subscription model. We’ve been able to build a system of understanding our readers.
They do now, and it is allowing them to add new features that adds value for their readers. If you add value for readers, then they understand the value of paying for content. For traditional media, as my friend Steve Yelvington says, we need to find new ways to add value, and data from subscription services is a powerful way to do that.