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Study: Paywalls Keep The Cash Out

CUNY's New Business Models for News Project has released a study that goes through two pay models for a metro news organization, which has decided to charge for content online. In one scenario, the Web site charges for all of its content; in the other, the site only charges for a fraction of it. What does the study find?

Sites that charge for all of their content consistently lose "millions" during the first three years if they institute the pay wall. A hybrid site, meanwhile, can become profitable before then, since additional advertising revenue more than makes up for any loss in subscription revenue. The findings are exactly the opposite of a new study by Ramon Casadesus-Masanell of Harvard Business School and Feng Zhu of USC's Marshall School of Business, which concluded that the surest path to success is committing entirely to one monetization method.



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