At last, numbers

The debate about dreams of a paid content model for news is finally – finally – getting specific with numbers. Martin Langeveld does some great and simple back of the envelope figuring to show that online subscription revenue won’t cover the lost of ad revenue with lost audience. Jeff Mignon and Nancy Wang run more elaborate scenarios and have added in numbers for subscribe acquisition costs (a rallying cry of mine); it also doesn’t look pretty.

This debate has been purely emotional – think a kid stomping food and shouting, “it’s not fair” when lamenting the loss of sub revenue – and now it is finally – finally – turning rational. We need much more modeling like this.

(Note to all the modelers: I will soon have MBAs and others to run numbers as part of the New Business Models for News Project at CUNY. So keep it coming and we’ll add yet more scenarios for local ecosystems, national content exchanges, hyperlocal bloggers, and more.)