Vid-Biz: Sony 3D, Faculte, Vudu

Sony Makes Big Bet on 3D; TVs, laptops, PS3s and Blu-ray to get all third-dimension-y starting by the end of 2010. (Financial Times)

Faculte Raises $2.8 Million; online video presentation startup gets its first round from Calumet Venture Fund and angel investors. (paidContent)

Vudu Lands on LG TVs; online movie streaming company moves further away from its original set-top box strategy by being directly available on the TV. (emailed release)

Motion Comics Moving to TV; Street Fighter and Voltron to get slightly animated shows on SyFy. (The Beat)

Epix Gets Roadside Assistance; forthcoming premium TV service to get 22 movies from Roadside Attractions. (The Hollywood Reporter)


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Taking The Plunge: How Newspaper Sites That Charge Are Faring

As more newspapers kick around the idea of charging for content, much of the attention has been focused on the pay models employed by the bigger players like the WSJ and the Financial Times. But quietly, some small- and medium-circulation papers are coming up with their own formulas to get readers to pony up for access to their websites. We checked in with some of these papers to find out how much they are charging and how they’re faring.

This is, by no means, a complete list. But one can draw some general conclusions by looking at the experiences of what is admittedly a very sample size. The newspapers tend to be located in smaller, often rural markets; online-only subscriptions are typically priced at a substantial discount to the print edition (in general, about 75% of what the print product costs); where numbers are available, the number of online subscribers is still a tiny percentage of their print counterparts (less than 5%); and many of these papers say they began charging not so much to make money online, but rather to protect sales of their print editions.

Newspaper: Daily Gazette
City: Schenectady, New York
Average paid circulation: 44,242
Pricing plan: Online-only subscriptions are available for $2.95 a week; while print subscribers, who pay $3.00 a week for home delivery, can pay an additional penny each week to also get unlimited access to the website as well as to an electronic edition. Blogs, AP stories, TV schedules, photo galleries, and breaking news remain free.
When pay wall was introduced: August 2009, although the paper was already charging readers to access the electronic edition
Results: Website traffic has plummeted by 40 percent in the three weeks since the Gazette started charging for most of its online content, including obituaries, managing editor Judy Patrick tells us. But she says “online subscriptions are slowly building.” There are 670 online-only subscribers.
Comment: The Gazette competes with the nearby Albany Times Union, which makes all of its content available for free, although it does charge 75 cents to access a digital copy of the paper. It’s too early to tell how the Times Union’s traffic has fared.

Newspaper: Valley Morning Star
City: Harlingen, Texas
Average paid circulation: 23,294
Pricing plan: Online-only subscriptions are available for 75 cents a day, $3.95 a month, or $39.50 for the year. Daily print subscribers get free access to web content and also to an e-edition of the paper. Weekend subscribers have to pay an additional $3.16 per month for online access, while Sunday-only subscribers have to pay $3.56 a month. Event listings, obituaries, AP stories, video, blogs, and classifieds all remain free.
When pay wall was introduced: July 2009
Results: A representative did not respond to a request for comment, but since the Morning Star started charging for online content in mid-June, another Freedom Communications daily, the Lima News, has followed suit. Traffic to the Morning Star’s website was actually slightly up in July, according to Compete.
Comment: “It will allow greater value to our many loyal print-edition subscribers by not giving away the news to non-subscribers,” Valley Morning Star Publisher Tyler Patton said in announcing the move. The Morning Star is the only daily in Harlingen.

Newspaper: Newport Daily News
City: Newport, R.I.
Circulation: 12,000
Pricing plan: Online-only subscriptions cost $5 a day, $10 a week, $35 a month, or $345 a year. Print and online combo subscriptions cost $11 a month or $100 a year. Obituaries, classifieds, blogs, and a copy of the front page are available for free online.
When pay wall was introduced: June 2009
Results: Publisher Buck Sherman told us that the goal was to “drive people back to the printed paper” and not to bring in online revenue. He says that so far “we have done well,” adding that single-copy sales are up 8 percent. Website traffic is down by about 30 percent since the paper began to charge, according to Compete figures.
Comment: The Daily News model grabbed headlines earlier this year because the paper was charging substantially more for the electronic edition of the paper than the print one. Competition is limited, with the much bigger Providence Journal pulling back on statewide coverage.

Newspaper: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
City: Little Rock, Ark.
Average paid circulation: 182,789
Pay model: Online-only subscriptions, which include access to an electronic edition, are available for $5.95 a month or $59 a year. Print subscribers get online access for free.
When pay wall was introduced: 2002
Results: Publisher Walter Hussman told the Guardian that the Democrat-Gazette charges in order to drive newsstand sales. The paper’s average daily paid circulation is down about 1 percent since it put up its pay wall. Revenue from online subscription sales amounts to only about $200,000 a year.
Comment: The Democrat-Gazette is the only newspaper in Little Rock. It’s the largest local daily in the U.S. to charge for online access.

Newspaper: Albuquerque Journal
City: Albuquerque, New Mexico
Average paid circulation: 101,810
Pay model: The Journal charges $110 a year (or $38.25 for three months) for full access to the paper’s website, along with an electronic edition of the paper. Readers can also pay $185 a year for a subscription to the print edition, the electronic edition and online access. Alternatively, they can pay $153 a year for home delivery and online access.
When pay wall was introduced: 2001
Results: Assistant Managing Editor Donn Friedman says that between 1,500 and 2,000 people pay extra each month for some sort of additional online access—a number that he says has “remained fairly consistent” over the past eight years. Each month, about 300 people who go to the site and then see a notice saying that they need either an online or print subscription to access online content sign up for some sort of subscription, he says. Paid daily circulation is down about 6 percent since the newspaper instituted the pay wall. Asked whether it has been a success, Friedman says, “We are still committed to the print retention model and the idea that our content has value.”
Comment: The rival Albuquerque Tribune was shut down last year, although the Journal still competes with the Santa Fe New Mexican, although it has a smaller staff.

Newspaper: Bend Bulletin
City: Bend, Oregon
Average paid circulation: 32,682
Pay model: Online-only subscriptions are available for $8 a month or $96 a year. Print subscribers pay $11 a month or $132 a year for home delivery, in addition to online access. The paper says that on average 30 local news, business, sports, features and entertainment articles are kept behind a pay wall each day.
When pay wall was introduced: 2005
Results: There are 1,200 online-only subscribers, says New Media Director Jan Even.
Comment: The Bulletin is the only daily newspaper in Bend.

Other papers that charge readers for online content include the Tribune of Lewiston, Idaho, the Idaho Press-Tribune of Nampa, Idaho, and the Herald Times of Bloomington, Ind.

Any other newspapers to add?


Glenn Greenwald Responds to Joe Klein and Mediaite on Email Leak

I wrote a piece of commentary about Joe Klein’s flame war with Glenn Greenwald yesterday in which I conceded Klein’s point about Greenwald’s publication of off-the-record emails. I also pointed out that Klein’s understanding of email confidentiality is shakier than a detoxing jackhammer operator.197728092_0d2e108d59_o

Rather than expressing appreciation for this turn of the tables, Greenwald had some reservations about the piece:

What “basic journalist” ethic has been violated by the posting of those emails? Be specific.
Is that kind the of “journalism” you practice — you only publish things if the subject of what you’re publishing authorizes you to do so and gives you permission? What’s the source of my “ethical obligation’ to keep those documents confidential?

Speaking of “journalistic ethics,” you just wrote a piece accusing me of violating journalistic ethics. Have you ever heard of the ethical rule about including the side of the story of the person you’re accusing? I have a long, detailed post today responding to this accusation that you not only failed to link to, but even failed to summarize or acknowledge at all — to say nothing of your failure to seek my comment. That’s what is called a failure of journalistic ethics.

When I wrote that commentary, I was under the impression that Glenn had received the emails himself, as a member of Journolist. I got that impression from the website on which he posted them, which lists no other source for the emails.

Had I seen Greenwald’s followup on Salon, I would have noted this attribution:

I’m not a member (of Journolist) and never have been. Yesterday morning, one of the participants (whose identity I don’t know) emailed me to advise me that Joe Klein was sending out extremely insulting and derogatory emails to the entire group about me, and forwarded that email discus sion to me, telling me he thought it was wrong that I was being repeatedly attacked by Klein in front of hundreds of people — including many people who are my colleagues and peers — without my knowledge and without being able to defend myself.

Having now seen that, I no longer agree that Greenwald had a duty to keep these off the record (a conclusion with which Dan Abrams agrees), but that he did have a duty to include the attribution when he posted the emails.

On the other hand, I could have easily checked Salon for a response from Greenwald, but didn’t. Believing that he was the recipient of the email, it wasn’t necessary to the piece.

After a series of nasty emails, Greenwald and I spoke on the phone this morning, and are no longer mutually convinced that the other is a journalistic Satan.

MacHeist, From the Perspective of Participating Developers

This one’s been on my to-link-to list for a while: Simone Manganelli, who has been a somewhat vocal critic of MacHeist, decided to conduct extensive interviews with a bunch of developers who have included their apps in the MacHeist bundle. Fascinating look at the indie Mac developer market and the experience of participating in a promotion like MacHeist.

Charlie Gibson Retiring Is Top News Story, According to ABCNews.com

A major shake-up for ABC World News will take place beginning in 2010, as anchor Charlie Gibson will retire and Diane Sawyer will step in as his replacement. Sawyer, currently an anchor on ABC’s Good Morning America, regularly fills in on World News for Gibson.

Despite diminishing ratings from its heyday, the three evening news anchor spots are still prime real estate. And ABC is playing it up big online.

The news was first reported by TVNewser, but has been getting major play on another site – ABCNews.com.

ABC’s story about the news is currently the top story on the site:
gibson_9-2

ABC has also published the full emails from Gibson and ABC News President David Westin this morning. Here’s a part of Gibson’s:

It had been my intention to step down from my job at Good Morning America in 2007 but with Peter’s illness, Bob’s injuries, and Elizabeth’s pregnancy, the job at World News came open in May of 2006, and David asked me to step in as anchor. It was an honor to do so. The program is now operating at a very accelerated, but steady, cruising speed, and I think it is an opportune time for a transition – both for the broadcast and for me. Life is dynamic; it is not static.

I have told David I would like to continue in some capacity contributing occasionally to ABC News. He has been receptive to the idea – and we will be discussing what that role might be.

Rachel Sklar on what appointing a woman to the seat means.

Ling and Lee on Their Detention in N. Korea

Current TV reporters Laura Ling and Euna Lee write, for the first time, about their reporting, capture, and detention in North Korea: We tried with all our might to cling to bushes, ground, anything that would keep us on Chinese soil, but we were no match for the determined [North Korean] soldiers. They violently dragged us back across the...