Friday, September 27, 2013

NME experiments with micropayments, possibly

So we know from the ABC figures that take-up of NME's digital edition is a little slow, which appears to have spurred the magazine to try a different way to monetise its digital content:

NME is to trial charging for online access to articles for the first time, asking readers to pay a modest 69p for this week's cover story on the indie four-piece Haim.

The magazine is dipping its toe in the world of online payments with the one-off experiment, but insiders insisted there are no plans to erect a full paywall around

From Wednesday, it will cost NME readers 69p to read an "enhanced digital" version of the cover feature on Haim – 30p cheaper than one of the San Fransisco band's singles on iTunes. The rest of the website will remain free.
This makes a degree of sense - keeping the feature articles off the site to protect magazine sales has been understandable, although hasn't worked, so a different approach makes sense.

And the magazine still has some great writers and access to interesting people, so trying to leverage some money online off the back of that makes sense.

On the other hand - sixty nine pence for a single article? MediaGuardian might describe it as "modest" but it looks more like the sort of price only a fan would pay. If you could take or leave Haim, or were merely Haimcurious, you'd head off to discover their other, free interviews, surely?

And if the idea is that people who like Haim very much will happily fork over 69p to read their words, there's a bit of a threat there to the NME that I'm not sure it's thought through. Because if I managed Haim, and knew the NME was going to be making money from selling unique digital content that Haim have helped create, I might consider that my group should get a share of the profits.

It's not like the magazine, where Haim are getting exposure to the wider NME audience, and can think of it as a marketing jaunt. This is a sale which takes place, inarguably, because of the presence of Haim in the product.

It might just be a dead question though - as there's nowhere obvious on the NME website where you can buy the thing. There's no mention on the homepage; no mention on the digital download page; not a word on the Haim page or on the 'inside the NME this week' page.

Perhaps the experiment has already been abandoned; because if it's still going on, I think we can predict there's only going to be limited take-up.

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