For cable and satellite TV providers, the second quarter of 2011 was the single worst quarter in history. They lost more subscribers than ever before and competitive pressure also meant that they had to offer more and more freebies to win subscribers. Overall, Reuters reports, the U.S. pay-TV sector lost 380,000 subscribers last quarter. In the same quarter a year ago, the TV providers lost 160,000. Things are even worse for satellite TV providers, as both Dish and DirecTV reported their “first-ever quarter of combined losses of 109,000 subscribers.”
The New York Times today erected an online paywall for its readers in Canada and plans to roll this system out worldwide on March 28. NYTimes.com readers will be able to access 20 articles per month for free. The New York Times will also charge users of its smartphone and tablet apps, though the Top News section in these apps will remain free. Monthly subscriptions will start at $15 per month for access to the website and smartphone app. For access to the website and tablet app – but not the smartphone apps – user have to pay $20. Full access to NYTimes.com content on all platforms will cost $35. There is no website-only subscription.
While Apple’s penchant for secrecy contributes to its mystique, it’s also responsible for a kind of 21st century Kremlinology where every one of Steve Jobs’ words is carefully analyzed for hidden meanings. At times, Jobs will bypass the regular PR channels and respond to email himself.Generally, these emails clear the air when there is some confusion and with regards to Apple’s new in-app subscription program, there seems to be plenty of that going around. Just a few days ago, Apple denied an iPhone app from time-shifted reading service Readability because it offered a third-party subscription service without offering Apple’s own service at the same time – a restriction of Apple’s in-app subscription program that ensures that Apple will get a 30% cut of all subscriptions.
Google just announced its new content payment system One Pass that gives publishers a very flexible and affordable option for charge their readers for access to their content. With One Pass, publishers can charge readers on the Web and in mobile apps for subscriptions, metered access, day passes, single articles and “freemium” conten