I first came across the day pass concept with Salon.com, its an interesting compromise between subscription content and ‘free content’. First of all, with the possible exception of consumer homepages there’s little free content on the web. Content that you don’t have to pay for has advertisements around the sides of the pages and in the text, these are often paid for on a ‘per click’ basis.
Self described ‘premium’ publications like the Financial Times and The Wall Street Journal go for a walled-garden approach where you have a paid for subscription and they vend the content out.
I consider this to be going after short-term gains and sacrificing their future.
The day pass says my content is valuable; however if you engage with my sponsor, they will pay for your access to my content over the next 24-hours. It means I have a moral contract with them to listen to their sponsor (and actually Aviva the insurance company did a smart bit of work by tailoring their content to deliver their message to an Economist reader whilst at the same time getting over their positioning as a progressive innovative company), I understand the ‘real value’ of the content that I get to look at AND the publisher remains relevant to a modern net audience rather than trapped in the dead forest business.
As Oscar Wilde said it is better to be talked about than not be talked about; in the online world, getting talked about means that you have to be accessible. Bloggers will tend not to blog about sites were people cannot go and see the content in context, for instance I have reduced the number of links I have to New York Times stories because of their part-way subscription model.
During my day pass tour of the Economist, I came across a series of trend articles and a number of interesting podcasts for download touching on some of the editorial teams hot topics for 2005: economic change
- The future of the oil market by oil maven Daniel Yergin (I recommend his book The Prize which is a history of the petroleum sector as excellent reading)
- The state of America under George W Bush and the key issues of Iraq, Iraq, Iraq
- The progress of democratic institutions in Muslim societies as a bulwark against terrorism
- The fight against flab in western countries
- The tensions bubbling under in China as the proletariat clash with the economic boom
- Changing the market and role of video games
- The permanent change in Japanese politics, the positive legacy of Junichiro Koizumi
- The rise of India on the world stage in terms of political and economic power
- Fixing development efforts in the third-world
- The old-age bomb in western societies
- The expected consolidation in the hedge fund market around clear winners
More related content here.