The webcomics blog about webcomics

So This Has Been Bouncing Around The Nets For A Couple Hours Now

Not exactly the most scenic drive in my beloved state.

Newsday (no link, as you will shortly understand) is a Long Island newspaper, and formerly a pretty well thought-of regional paper of record. Given the number of people that live on Long Island and either work in New York City (or reside within its mediasphere), it was often thought of as an adjunct to the city’s big papers (the Times, Daily News, and Post), along with the Newark, NJ Star-Ledger. Then it changed hands, changed focus, and locked down its website behind a paywall. Our story continues in the pages of the Observer, a somewhat snarky weekly NYC paper:

So, three months later, how many people have signed up to pay $5 a week, or $260 a year, to get unfettered access to [the answer] was revealed in a newsroom-wide meeting last week by publisher Terry Jimenez when a reporter asked how many people had signed up for the site. Mr. Jimenez didn’t know the number off the top of his head, so he asked a deputy sitting near him. He replied 35.

Michael Amon, a social services reporter, asked for clarification.

“I heard you say 35 people,” he said, from Newsday’s auditorium in Melville. “Is that number correct?”

Given the recent change-up at Webcomics Dot Com to a subscription model, I hit up WDC supremo Brad Guigar to see if he would, on the record, state if WDC has gotten more than 35 subscribers in the (just over) three weeks since the switch. His reply:

Many times over.

I think the key to this one is in the first ‘graf of that Observer piece:

The paper was one of the first non-business newspapers to take the plunge by putting up a pay wall, so in media circles it has been followed with interest. [emphasis mine]

… in that Guigar has maintained WDC is a specialty-content site, not a general-news site, and thus subject more to journal (trade, academic, or Wall Street) model than the newspaper model. Interesting.

  • Still available at the Secret Friend Society for free, Hope Larson’s Salamander Dream is now also available for your Kindle for two bucks. This is also interesting: will something that’s easily available for free be sellable in essentially the same format for what’s an entirely nominal payment? Watch this one closely, as it may tell you what the upshot of today’s Apple Jesus Tablet announcement eventually means to the comics industry.
  • Speaking of which, there’s a pretty good breakdown on what the AJT may mean for the comics (and here, we really mean the comics on the newspaper page, and to a lesser degree, the superhero-centric things from the shop with the scary obsessive man-children) over at NPR’s Monkey See blog:

    I haven’t been following the hype, and even I’ve read speculation that The New Flatness will save, in no particular order: Book publishing, newspapers, magazines, music, textbooks, games and the music industry. Also: The Whales, the Children, the Tiger, The Cheerleader/World, Energy, Ferris, and The Last Dance for Me.

    So yeah, once it’s got all that sorted, it’s gonna save the comics industry. No, really; for months the comics press has teemed with forward-looking headlines both bold (“Apple Tablet Will Restore Comic Books to Former Glory”) and coy (“Could Apple’s iSlate Tablet Be a Digital Game-Changer?”)

    Game changer or not, it probably won’t be until after the establishment and rise to commercial dominance of an iTunes-like marketplace that the AJT could start to really make its influence known. That tipping point is likely still a ways off, and as usual, the day will belong to the nimblest and most adaptable. We at Fleen remain cautiously optimistic.

It’s worth noting the particularly incompetent pricing structure with the Newsday website: Website access only is $5. Daily home delivery of the newspaper, which *includes* website access costs $4.50. You actually have to pay an extra fifty cents to make them *stop* delivering the paper.

The “35” figure refers only to subscribers of the website only service, and does not include subscribers who get home delivery. Nor does it include users who received a free subscription due to being an Optimum Online customer. Presumably, there are far more subscribers who gained access to the site through other offers than are reflected in that figure.

“Newsday representatives claim that 75 percent of Long Island either has a subscription or Optimum Cable.”

That puts the number in context. Those 35 subscribers are probably homesick ex-Long Islanders.

[…] pay-walled website has a whopping 35 subscribers. Hope is doing better. Fleen talks about it […]

[…] pay-walled website has a whopping 35 subscribers. Hope is doing better. Fleen talks about it […]

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