Dallas Morning News: ‘Paywall Didn’t Work’

dmnscreenAs Eric reported in August, The Dallas Morning News becomes the second major market daily (after the SF Chronicle) to ditch its paywall starting today. The reason, in short, it didn’t actually make money. So, time for a new strategy. Rather than pay for content, the DMN believes you will pay for “how you consume that content,” or in other words, the layout. Via Moroney:

“[Subscribers] were paying for a print experience. Now, we want to see if there are sufficient consumers who will pay for a premium digital experience.”

I’m not a highly paid media consultant so I’m not going to tell you that this is another DMN experimentation that will fail miserably. I’m just a reader of the paper, and I can’t come up with one good reason to pay $11.96 per month for a nifty “image-oriented, collage-style display” (as well as fewer ads). But hey, that’s just me. Good luck guys.


  • Daily reader

    I’m with you on this one. I’m a reader of a newspaper.

  • Keith

    What they need is an online editor with a history of working in a trendy local magazine with a vibrant online community.

    • Borborygmus

      Yes, since they were so effective at boosting Wilonsky’s online following, why wouldn’t any editor want that job?

  • heels

    CueCat isn’t dead, just waiting. waiting.

  • Eric Celeste

    Also: It’s not working yet. I have a post I want to write about it, but … I think the subscriber site needs to be functional before I do so. The waiting, it IS the hardest part.

  • marisa

    The wake up call for DMN should be……….nothing they print is worth paying for. Until they get better writers NOTHING has changed. If you are ugly, getting dressed up will not make you pretty.

    • Sam

      Marisa – give an example of a daily local newspaper or blog that is your ideal.who should DMN emulate?

    • Eric’s editor

      Sarah Jessica Parker disagrees with your last comment. (Naaaaaay!)

  • jrd

    1) Keep the paywall but set the price so low tons of people sign up – e.g. take the monthly price and charge that for the year
    2) Require an electronic payment method that is then linked to users log-in (like an Apple ID)
    3) Make it easy for users to buy stuff using their ID – special offers from advertisers, event tickets, archived articles – possibilities are endless

    This is just a rough outline of a vision/plan, but it appears to be more then the DMN has.

  • Eric’s editor

    You “have a post you want to write about” (meaning you want to write a post about something you already posted” or “you want to write a post” (meaning a new topic)?

  • Eric Celeste

    I have a post I want to write, and that post will be discussing the writing want to do me about now.

  • Sam

    Who was your editor at Culture Map? He/she did wonders with your could-have-been voluminous posts.

  • Bill Marvel

    Define “better writers.”

  • gimmethewooby

    There is a “Perks” section where you can claim items, such as tickets to the State Fair of Texas. Beyond that, it’s hard to tell what benefits it offers outside of looking different.
    Perhaps they will have exclusive content?

  • marisa

    Local as in DFW……….none. There is a void. You would need to look out side the area. Papers I consider worth the read……. WSJ or NY Times.

  • Kevin Kunreuther

    You do know Gannet Co (USA Today) is buying BELO, and are serving as “consultants” right now?

  • you don’t know anything

    the other belo not ah belo

  • Frack

    So you want a national newspaper in Dallas like NYT/WSJ or a newspaper that can sell more ads and pay national newspaper salaries to its writers?

    You don’t know much about he media business, do you?