Winning the Paywall Debate

first_imgThough it may seem anti-climactic to you, given the rigorous discussion and testing around other publications’ paywalls, this is giant for us. We’ve finally moved from discussion to doing, and I, for one, could not be happier. Movement and experimentation, not standing still and hiding, is how smart business decisions are made.Previously, half of our content was behind a paywall that pushed people to subscribe. Now, the majority of our new content will be paywalled for at least a day or two, as it’s released. Editors will gradually rotate all pieces in front of the paywall during the week, so that every single piece will get its chance to circulate for free. This allows editors to better control the timing and PR strategy surrounding the release of content, but especially helps the efforts of the marketing team. Because our issues go live each week, the impact of our paywall is to encourage people to pay for instant access to our content.One of the most unanticipated pushbacks has been not from readers, but from writers who worry about cutting off eyeballs to their page. Our editorial staff has done a good job of communicating the necessity of testing, and I hope that my points below help other publications open a constructive dialogue about paywall strategy with their writers.1. Our financial vitality is necessary in order to further our editorial mission. Being a subscription-based publication, we rely on money from our readers in ways that other places do not. I’m not giving away free copies of The Nation at the dentist’s office; our basic annual rate for a printed magazine is $79 (a pittance compared to $138 for The Economist). We are not beholden to advertisers or a ratebase, leaving us to refreshingly cover what we want how we want. News media across the board have been fighting an uphill battle against free news on the web for years; The Nation is not immune. But I sense a shifting of the tides, and the industry has been teaching readers, little by little, that good, factual journalism costs something. Sending a reporter to Egypt or Russia or a photo-essayist to Detroit costs more than travel fees—these reporters are in Syria or Russia or Detroit, and readers should expect to have to pay people for the work that surrounds these issues. Believe it or not, solid, rigorous reporting isn’t done from a desktop or pieced together from a bunch of Wikipedia facts. Real journalism, like a crane operator or a chef, requires nuanced skill, time, and expertise. Writers know this. But it’s easy for them to lose sight of this in a vacuum—especially in an era we’ve created where we make clicks and pageviews count more than actual content, which practically demands a reversal. What needs to be reiterated is how, in order to avoid becoming a slogfest of half-truths and online “facts,” we need money to fund their work. If we’re not relying on advertising, then we need to rely on circulation. And in this day and age, a paywall is just another type of circulation.2. Our readers, not our advertisers, are our future. I liken our readers to Packers fans. Green Bay is the only community-owned sports franchise in the country. Cheeseheads are rabid about their Packers because they have a psychological stake in the team (no dividends are paid out; extra monies go to a variety of non-profits throughout Wisconsin). The structure is different, but the sentiment is similar: The Nation’s writers give readers a point of view they don’t often read. We need them both on board to continue our work. As long as we push affordable business initiatives to a new audience, we can build said audience with a greater psychological investment in our content provided by the writers. The readers and writers work in tandem, walking along a tightrope of limited funds, and without those funds, both will falter.3. Leverage the exclusionary aspect to inspire a bigger audience. It’s not rocket science: the glut of crap on the internet is astounding, and we all read it, but we don’t remember it (when was the last time you quoted a Yahoo News statistic at a meeting?). Everything has been bit.ly’ed to the point where news has become trivia questions, not actual substance. But the writers can fight that, with their own followings and via their own audiences, by talking about their “exclusive” content on The Nation. It’s a way to leverage money for the paywall, but also for readers of their content. They want more eyeballs, not less; their resistance is to the general idea that a paywall will reduce eyeballs. This may be accurate on the outset. But the ownership is on everyone at the magazine—from the PR team to the writers’ own connections—to emphasize the importance of their pieces, offer teasers, and establish a firm stance that there is a reason we are asking you to cough up some money (in our case, $9.50) to read content. We’re like an exclusive club that costs next to nothing to join.4. Finally, this too shall pass. This is only temporary. This is only a test. Remember: it will either work or it won’t. If it works, then you’ve got the eyeballs, and we’ve got money to pay you. If it doesn’t, we experiment with something new and try a different angle. I promise you, it’s not in my interest to pour money into a continually failing strategy. Trust that your business staff is doing the best they can in your interest and in the publication’s, and that we won’t do something that will hurt the future of magazine. We’re doing something revolutionary at The Nation: we’re finally testing different paywall strategies. Sharing this is like dumping my purse on the table of a restaurant—it’s a mixed bag of embarrassment and pride. Why haven’t we done this sooner?It’s a little tricky, of course, being a subscription-based publication with a 150-year history of an audience allied to very strong editorial content. We have become increasingly forward-thinking with our approach to advertising, but at the core of it, our subscribers fund the magazine. At The Nation, Editorial Rules. We’ve been slower to test for all the reasons you think: less money; limited staff; an audience of truth-seekers who find paywalls a moral hindrance if nothing else; a founding prospectus that emphasizes our role to engage open, critical discussion of political and social issues; a staunch belief in the freedom of the press.last_img read more

Budget 2017 NITI Aayog not in favour of raising income tax exemption

first_imgThe National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog is not in favour of raising the income-tax (I-T) exemption limit in the upcoming budget (Budget 2017). Instead, it has expressed a view that the threshold for paying 10 per cent tax be raised from the current Rs 5 lakh to Rs 7 lakh.This, according to the NITI Aayog, is a better way of expanding tax collection and at the same time, having an equitable approach to augmenting revenues, the Business Standard reported, citing the body’s officials. Currently, those with a taxable annual income above Rs 2.5 lakh and up to Rs 5 lakh pay I-T at the rate of 10 per cent.Read: FM Arun Jaitley provides insights on income tax collection in IndiaThe other two slabs are — taxable annual income from above Rs 5 lakh and up to Rs 10 lakh (tax rate is 20 per cent) and those earning above Rs 20 lakh (tax rate 30 per cent). The exemption limit was left unchanged by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in last year’s budget.A few days ago, consulting firm Deloitte released a Pre-Budget Expectations Survey Report to say that the basic I-T exemption should be increased to Rs 5 lakh per year and the ceiling for claiming deduction under Section 80C should be raised to Rs 2.5 lakh.”The increase in the slab limit will kick-start savings, which will ultimately lead to increase in investment in the system,” the report said. Demands for raising the exemption limit and extend other incentives are doing the rounds in the run-up to the budget presentation; there is a belief that such measures would stimulate the economy that has taken a hit due to the demonetisation decision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on November 8, 2016.The impact of the currency ban on the economy was not reflected in the recent FY2017 GDP growth estimates released by the government. The world’s fastest-growing economy is expected to expand at 7.1 percent in 2016-17, though projections by analysts after factoring in the demonetisation impact put the growth rate below 7 per cent.”The sudden decline in money supply and a simultaneous increase in bank deposits is going to adversely impact the consumption demand in the economy in the short term. This, coupled with the adverse impact on real estate/construction and informal sectors, may lead to lowering of GDP growth,”  India Ratings had said in a note on November 11, 2016.A projection by Nomura said the growth rate in the early half of calendar year 2017 could even fall below 6 per cent, which will be a 20-year low. “Nomura’s CLI for India for early 2017 has slumped to the lowest level since the series started in 1996 and is consistent with GDP growth of below 6%. This suggests that there is downside risk to our Q1 GDP growth projection of 6.9% y-o-y; i.e., near-term growth may fall much more than expected,” the financial services group said in its note last month.Jaitley will be presenting the Union Budget for the next financial year on February 1, 2017.Earlier this week, the BJP government released the tax collection data for the April-December 2016 period. “The figures for direct tax collections up to December, 2016 show that net collections are at Rs 5.53 lakh crore, which is 12.01% more than the net collections for the corresponding period last year. This collection is 65.3% of the total Budget Estimates of direct taxes for FY 2016-17,” the Ministry of Finance said in a statement.last_img read more

10th Annual National 5k Walk for Epilepsy

first_imgThe Epilepsy Foundation will host its 10th annual National 5k Walk for Epilepsy near the Washington Monument on the National Mall April 16. The walk started in 2006 and has raised nearly $10 million to help provide services for people living with epilepsy, awareness for seizure recognition with first aid, and research toward better treatment options. Sunovion Pharmaceuticals will debut a special “Talk About It” tent for people to open up about theirconcerns and personal experiences around epilepsy. The tent will give participants a VIP Hollywood experience with cameras, a red carpet, paparazzi and special guests, including Rick Harrison (Reality TV personality), Jerry Kill (Former Head Coach of University of Minnesota Golden Gophers), Haely Jardas (Washington Redskins Cheerleaders), Dana Pirolli (Former Philadelphia Eagles Cheerleader) and Alan Faneca (NFL Hall of Fame Nominee). The walk will also include live performances, family activities, and an “Ask the Experts” Q&A to help everyone better understand epilepsy from top doctors and experts. The walk will begin promptly at 9 a.m., starting at 15th Street and Independence Avenue NW. There will also be an optional 1 mile “Family Fun Walk” that loops around the Washington Monument.last_img read more

Why You Should Try to Be a Little More Scarce

first_imgLuckily for us, according to experts, it’s possible to harness this concept and increase our appeal in things like negotiations and career advancement. So if you find yourself becoming overzealous over every little opportunity that comes your way, here are a few ways to keep things in balance: Read the whole story: The New York Times And while conventional wisdom tells us we should eagerly embrace every opportunity that comes our way, playing a little hard to get has its advantages. “What the scarcity principle says is that people are more attracted to those options or opportunities that are rare, unique or dwindling in availability,” Dr. Cialdini said. The reason behind this idea has to do with the psychology of “reactance”: Essentially, when we think something is limited to us, we tend to want it more. Back in college, I was always the first to raise my hand in class (a behavior that didn’t win me many friends, let me tell you). Now as a freelance writer, I’m no stranger to that same overeagerness when it comes to work — translated in prompt replies and more than the occasional emoji. Emails, tweets, Slack messages — you name it — being affable and amenable is kind of my thing. Study after study has shown that opportunities are seen to be more valuable as they become less available, meaning that people want more of what they can’t have, according to Robert Cialdini, a leading expert on influence and the author of “Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade.”last_img read more

Boost App Sales by Making the Most of the Holidays

first_img Register Now » Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box. December 16, 2013 4 min read Everyone in general is looking forward to the holidays, but you, the mobile app entrepreneur in particular, should be more than excited.The holiday season is a season of giving, gifting, buying and indulging. The proof is in the pudding, as Flurry estimates suggest that 17.4 million iOS and Android devices were activated on Dec. 25, 2012.And what’s a new phone without apps? On Christmas Day alone last year, new records were set when 328 million apps were downloaded worldwide for iOS and Android devices.It’s anybody’s guess what’s going to happen this year with the recent launches of iOS and Android devices creating quite a stir in the market.So you, the developer, have much to look forward to. But don’t sit back and expect people to flock to your app. Make changes and promote it to capitalize on this once-in-a-year opportunity. Here’s how.Go crazy with promotions or marketing. Whatever you’ve been doing to market your app, do it 10 times over. This is the season to make the most of, so get your A-game out.Related: 25 Creative Ways to Promote Your App For FreeCustomize your app, description and screenshots. If it ties in well with your app, go ahead and create a special holiday version or simply update it with holiday season backgrounds (think snow falling over a beautiful landscape marked with Christmas trees). If not, simply update the description to talk to holiday season shoppers and update the screenshots of your app that showcase the glee of the holidays.People naturally turn to all things associated with the holidays and this will make them more likely to download your app.Limited-time discount or free offer. If you’ve got a paid app, consider discounting the price during a certain period of the holidays, and certainly during Christmas week. You could also go all out and offer it completely free to the users. In return, you’ll have high potential for word-of-mouth publicity and an opportunity for press and blog mentions on your promotion. WhatsApp messenger was offered for free for a limited time during the holidays in 2011 and 2012.Related: How to Make Your Mobile App Stand Out in the Ever-Expanding App Market12 days of Christmas. Run a promotion on your social media channels such as Facebook or in the offline world where you give certain people your paid app as a gift every day. If your app is free, then you can gift them an amount they can redeem on the app store for movies, songs or apps. In the iTunes store, go to the bottom of the page and tap ‘Send Gift.’ Select the amount and type the email addresses of the people you wish to send the gift to. This will draw a lot of attention and publicity to your app. Google Play gift cards are available at retailers such as Walmart, Target and Sam’s Club at their outlets or through their websites.Gift virtual goodies. If your app falls in the freemium category, you can offer users a free pack of coins or some relevant virtual goodie that otherwise they would have to pay for. The idea is to generate word of mouth, which is the best way for your app to get accelerated downloads.Customize advertising. If you’re advertising your app on social channels or on other apps, customize it to suit the holiday season, not just in terms of the design, but also in terms of the messaging. For instance, pitch your app as the perfect gift to give to their friends and family.And remember to make changes before Dec. 21, when Apple shuts down iTunes Connect through Dec. 28. There are no approvals on updates, price changes or new releases during that time.Happy holidays! Related: The Psychology of Discounts and Deals (Motiongraphic) Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.last_img read more

Serious delays on trains as railway line between StokeonTrent and Manchester Piccadilly

first_imgGet the biggest Daily stories by emailSubscribeSee our privacy noticeThank you for subscribingSee our privacy noticeCould not subscribe, try again laterInvalid EmailUPDATE: Trains are now running as normal. National Rail confirm. Railway commuters travelling from Stoke-on-Trent to Manchester Piccadilly face delays this morning due to a signalling problem which has left the line blocked in both directions. Cross Country, Virgin Trains and Northern Rail services are all affected, with no trains calling at Macclesfield Disruption is expected until at least 9am – with a number of trains cancelled or terminated ahead of schedule. The signalling problem is between Macclesfield and Stockport, with reports saying either Prestbury or Poynton, with delays of between 20 and 30 minutes reported on the trains that are still running. One Northern Rail Service from Manchester to North Staffordshire and South Cheshire, which was due to call at Congleton, Kidsgrove and Stoke-on-Trent among other railway stations, has been cancelled completely. Another service travelling from Stoke-on-Trent to Manchester has terminated at Macclesfield, with a second Northern Rail service delayed in the city. A Northern Rail spokesman said: “Due to signalling problems between Macclesfield and Stockport all lines are blocked. “Train services running through these stations will be cancelled or delayed by up to 30 minutes. “Due to a signalling problem at Prestbury all services through this station will delayed or cancelled. “Passengers for Stoke on Trent can board Virgin West Coast services in both directions via any reasonable route. “Passengers have ticket acceptance via any reasonable route with Cross Country Trains. “Rail Replacement Transport will be conveying passengers Between Stockport and Macclesfield in both directions.” A Virgin Trains spokesman said: “Due to a fault with the signalling system between Stockport and Macclesfield trains have to run at reduced speed on all lines. “Train services running through these stations may be delayed by up to 20 minutes or diverted via Crewe. Macclesfield will not be served. Disruption is expected until 9am.” Read MoreWarning after suspicious yellow markings left on properties Virgin Trains from London Euston to Manchester, which call at Stoke-on-Trent will still call in the Potteries, but will not be calling at Macclesfield – although Virgin said they would make an additional stop in Wilmslow. A National Rail spokesman said: “Trains are currently unable to run between Macclesfield and Stockport. Buses will operate between these stations. “Northern will operate a train shuttle service between Stoke-on-Trent and Macclesfield.” We will update this story throughout the morning. For the latest live traffic and travel news from across the region, visit our live feed here.last_img read more