Local TV WCPO Readies Paywall. Advertisers Pack Bags?

The E.W. Scripps Co.-owned WCPO in Cincinnati will erect a traffic & advertiser killing paywall in January 2014. They call the paywall “the first-ever premium subscription service for a TV station’s digital content. We call it a really bad idea.

Local TV adopts bad idea from failing Newspapers.

Seems like the brain trust at E.W. Scripps decided to avoid understanding how Newspaper paywalls have not panned out as planned. But of course, TV is different, right? It’s no secret that audience falls off a cliff when forcing people to pay for reading local, increasingly commoditized content online. Adding insult to injury, local sales reps at WCPO will enjoy telling their local clients that banner ads will ALSO be behind the paywall. Nice.

WCPO has added more than 30 editorial staffers to its digital reporting team, including eight veteran reporters covering local crime and justice, politics, business, education and the arts.

“We’ve built a best-in-class digital news experience that delivers on local depth, perspective and analysis while continuing to dominate the marketplace on the investigative reporting, breaking news and weather coverage the audience depends on us for,” said Adam Symson, chief digital officer for E.W. Scripps.

Local sales strategy has not been announced publicly. It’s quite possible that it hasn’t been announced internally either. Sales managers, revenue producers, new business reps and other sales related staff have yet to provide a statement.

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