Want to Charge for Digital Content?
4. Select the best price model.
Online media is a good platform not only for diverse offer models, but also for alternative price models. Classic models such as pay-per-article models and monthly subscriptions are only two of many possibilities. What about offering infrequent readers a pre-paid model in which they can read a specific number of articles per month or year? In contrast, heavy readers would probably be better off either with a monthly package that includes the first several articles, or with a staggered model in which the first 10 articles are more expensive than the next 10, or with a "cost airbag" that covers all monthly spending. No matter how you look at the situation, one thing is clear: There is no "one size fits all" offer or price model. After all, there is no "one" reader.
5. Set your price level.
So what's the right price? There is no clear-cut answer. It depends on the offer, the target group and the price model. Having said that, several different price ranges for various paid content categories already exist. Simon-Kucher & Partners—a global consulting firm specializing in product pricing and marketing strategy—has observed, for example, that consumer magazine articles tend to be in the lower price range, while trade journal articles are usually more expensive. (See the chart of current price ranges.)
While U.S. newspapers still struggle to find the right price for digital content, the few newspapers that already offer paid content charge heavily for their online content.
Compared to heavily discounted print subscriptions, the prices for paid content subscriptions seem to include a real premium—or to target a customer segment that highly values the advantages of online content subscriptions.
Magazines also offer a wider range of premium add-on features than newspapers do, but newspapers tend to charge much more per unit of time than magazines do for their online service.