Here’s NBR homepage, above the fold, this morning.
I’ve helpfully crossed out in red the articles that are subscriber only, and in black the one article that has a bad link (which I suspect would be subscriber only anyway). Note that the articles in the Most Popular section on the right are all also in the main list on the left.
There are just five articles that are readable without subscribing, one bad link that isn’t readable by anyone and eleven articles that are behind the subscription barrier. Five out of seventeen is just 29% – versus the 80% that non subscribers are meant to be able to access.
Of the five readable articles, two are Chris Keall’s blog posts and one is written by mega blogger Dave Farrar, both of whom emerge from the “huge band of amateur, untrained, unqualified bloggers who have swarmed over the internet pouring out columns of unsubstantiated “facts” and hysterical opinion” <update – In case this isn’t clear – Chris is a professional journalist with excellent pedigree, and Dave’s writing transcends that of the masses>
That leaves just two traditional NBR news items above the fold.
Words fail me, so I’ll borrow from Barry Colman:
It is only a matter of time before the model collapses.
He was talking about the tradtional media model – but I think we can aply it to NBR’s subscription wall.
It’s also clear, from the top five list, that the NBR is gaming this somewhat. How do we account for two of the top five read articles being subscription only?
Are they perhaps counting clicks to those articles that result in the reader seeing only a subscription wall, or are they turning on the subscription wall once articles become popular?
Either way is disingenuous.
Most disturbingly for NBR and readers there is no indication of whether an article is subscriber content or free (aside from the lead article). That makes the NBR experience a fragmented and frustrating one – you see great headlines but can read nothing. Given the usurious cost to subscribe people will increasing chsse to do just that – read nothng.
<update. Let’s insert the latest traffic chart from Netratings.The worm turned before subscription was turned on, and I would guess that it will take a while before non-subscribers stop showing up en mass. But advertisers on NBR.co.nz cannot be happy with this trend.>
<update 2. Sigh. It seems I got the labels wrong. Sorry Bernard but the line going down is Interest.co.nz and the line staying flat is NBR. My apologies everyone.>