Public radio's digital deadbeats

As a general rule, the correct strategy for most publishers, and other content producers, is to give away their content on the Web in order to make money from advertising. Of course, there are exceptions to that rule. It may not make sense for monthly magazine publishers, who have serious cannibalization issues, and who may not want to make their print content available free to nonsubscribers. There is an analogy in public radio.
I was on a panel titled “Following the Online Money” at a public broadcasting Integrated Media Association conference in Seattle last week. In preparing for that meeting, I came to the conclusion that for public radio stations, it probably doesn’t make economic sense to make their live streams available to nonmembers for free.
Membership revenue is the lifeblood of public broadcasting. They’re membership organizations. And their live streams are of interest only to their members and people who should be members. As I told one attendee, “If you could bill everyone who listens to your station, you would. And online, you can require membership to listen to a live stream.”
I say, “Make ’em pay.”
Originally published on my blog at JupiterResearch.