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.

5 thoughts on “Local TV WCPO Readies Paywall. Advertisers Pack Bags?”

  1. And you suggestions are? How can they exchange their broadcast dollars for digital dimes and survive? I may agree with you but don’t have a solution to their revenue issues.

  2. Hi Margie,
    Great to hear from you again. Long time, no hear.

    Our 2 cents: Local, traditional media is no longer in the drivers seat with local advertising. Especially digital. Solutions to their plight have been discussed, shared, documented ad nauseam for many years. Those is control ( financial stakeholders, owners, CEO, etc ) have no motivation to implement because they STILL make too much money the old fashion way. “Innovators Dilemma” book provides detail on that phenomenon.

    I assume you work for local media still?

    thx for feedback.

  3. No, I do not work for local media but am a consultant working with local media. I agree they are rapidly losing control of all revenues and am on your side. Only was asking for your suggested solutions — the problems are pretty obvious! Today local broadcast dollars still dominate digital dimes and, therefore, getting those stakeholders to change today is all but impossible. I’m hoping someone will develop a solution before it is too late for them. The train left the station years ago and it and it ain’t coming back no matter how much they want it to!
    And I read everything you write-thanks for the “welcome back!”

  4. We have a subscription & membership plan being readied for launch. Many potential solutions will be provided & shared with members. It’s not brain surgery, and none of what we share is proprietary. Many concepts are being successfully implemented with the BrigantineNOW network.

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