So now comes the news that Newsday will soon stop offering its content for free online at Newsday.com.
"When we purchased Newsday, we were aware of the long-term issues facing the traditional newspaper industry," Rutledge told analysts Thursday. "We plan to end the distribution of free Web content and make our newsgathering capabilities a service to our customers."
If you're an out of market Mets fan, other than Metsblog.com, checking Newsday.com has been a great way to stay connected to the Mets news of the day. We can debate all day long whether this is a good business decision for Newsday, risking their 67 million monthly page views, but it's undeniable that this is bad news for us fans. Newsday's Mets coverage is damn good. But there is not a chance in the world that I would pay to read the newspaper online. With the proliferation of blogs, espn.com and numerous other sources, the news is just far too accessible for me to feel the need to pay for Newsday.
You might ask why it's OK to pay for a physical newspaper but silly to pay for online content. Well, historically the business model for newspapers has been simple. Charge for the paper to cover the large expense of printing and distributing a daily newspaper, but all of the profits come from advertising. The overhead on a website is much, much, less. Newsday shoudl be able to figure out how to make money on advertising. At this point they shoudl have a very, very good idea of the demographics of the people who are reading their online content, even more so than their newspaper audience. They should have no trouble selling this to advertisers. Some "expert" over at Cablevision (owner of Newsday) must think they can make more money charging a subscription fee for their content, but I think their doomed for failure here. Unlike with cable model, where they until recently had a monopoly on paid television service, as I said earlier there is just too much news content widely available for this to work.
So, out of market Mets fans, enjoy Anthony Rieber's and Ken Davidoff's and Neil Best's, and even Wallace Matthews' columns while you can. Newsday is going to try and see how much you'll pay for what you used to get for free.