Thursday, October 20, 2011

Here's what we know about GCI's own paywalls

As The New York Times Co. today reports more growth in digital subscriptions, it is worth noting what Corporate said during Monday's earnings conference call about its own experiments with paywalls at three U.S. newspapers: nothing.

And here's what media stock analysts asked about those experiments during the call: nothing.

Now, contrast that with CEO Gracia Martore's remarks during the second-quarter call, when an analyst asked for a progress report:

"I think the most important thing that you need to focus in on is that those folks who are paying, are paying for content. They are absolutely passionate about and that the level of engagement and time spent on those sites is several times what it is on a normal website. So incredibly high engagement and we're working on a number of other items right at the moment. A few more tests and a few other things that will result in us looking at this in a more meaningful way as the year progresses. But it's a little early for us to share any more details."

Given the importance of these trials, which began in July 2010, it's striking there's so little known publicly about the outcome.

Earlier: Does Chief Digital Officer Payne sound like he believes in paywalls?


  1. All I have to say is that Saridakis bet his net worth that Gannett could not successfully build a business around pay walls. One and a half years later, I hate to say it, but he was correct.

    Furthermore, Saridakis also predicted that Gannett's link up with Yahoo (led by Jack Williams) would fail miserably. Well, guess what? Gannett is abandoning Yahoo! and their ad management platform and hooking up with Google and Doubleclick (ironically, Saridakis' first start up company).

    Everyday I show up here, I am amazed at how pathetically managed this business is.

  2. I've been told some of the numbers.
    They're down, month over month, and even year over year.

    I suspect its because viewers are tired of clicking and clicking to find decent content. Stupid, poorly-done videos are the worst.

    Better-done-than-good's Deal Chicken has come home to roost.

  3. @10:00 - not sure I agree with your detective work that Saridakis "bet his net worth" on anything with Gannett. In fact, seems he added to all his positions quite nicely. And jumped shop soon after.

  4. Obviously, it shouldn't be difficult to assess pay walls after 15 months. The reason they are not talking number is the numbers are likely awful. Also, don't forget that New Yorks Times produces a premium product. I'm very familiar with three medium to large Gannett markets and the online readers in those communities do not see gannett as premium and would likely not purchase an online subscription. Matore may talk about people being passionate locally and she is most likely correct. They are passionate in their contempt for poorly written, badly edited stories, photo galleries of youngsters out drinking at bars and showing plenty of cleavage.

  5. Exactly the reason why Saridakis is worth hundreds of millions of dollars. He is too smart for a place like Gannett. Since he left Gannett, he joined GSI commerce and then turned around and sold the company to ebay for $3 billion and now he is running the place. Rumor is that ebay paid him a ton of money and stock to stay on.

    What do we have? A loser like David Payne who successfully ran shortTail media into the ground and does not even have any name recognition among the media and technology elites.

    Oh, worse owe now have a CEO who is an accountant! How is that for"transformation"

  6. 7:05 you're not familiar with anything other than listening to yourself pontificate. You're not fooling anyone. Everyone is an expert online.


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