PAYWALL AND SUBSCRIPTIONS

THE NEW YORK TIMES SHOWED THAT VALUING JOURNALISTIC CONTENT THROUGH PAYWALL AND SUBSCRIPTIONS IS POSSIBLE. THROUGHOUT THE WORLD, THIS FINANCIAL MODEL IS BECOMING POPULAR. INDIE INTENDS TO USE IT - AND ENHANCE IT.

In the Philosophy of Money, German sociologist Georg Simmel explains that to maintain economic value, an object must be priced within its audience’s reach: not so low as to not generate desire, but not so high so as to be unreachable.

For a commodity — even an immaterial one, such as information — to have economic value it must have an exchange value. Without any obstacles to obtain the object, the exchange value does not exist, and the economic value is lost. INDIE believes that journalism will no longer be sustainable if it gives up the economic value of information.

The best way to guarantee journalistic independence is direct funding from a solid reader base that is willing to pay for content. Even today there are examples of mainstream companies that are doing this successfully, like The New York Times. And most importantly, there are also examples of thriving start-ups that have succeeded in conquering readers and convincing them to pay for content. Mediapart, in France, and De Correspondent, in Holland, are two of them. INDIE holds them as a reference in terms of attraction and reader loyalty.

INDIE will operate on a paywall and “freemium” subscription system that will guarantee unlimited access to its content amongst all digital platforms: computers, smartphones, tablets and other future applications. But, contrary to current practice in Brazilian press, that access to information should be as simple as possible. 

In Brazil, reference newspapers such as Folha de S. Paulo and O Estado de S.Paulo charge more for their subscriptions than The New York Times – R$ 32.90 and R$ 29.90 per month, respectively, versus the equivalent of  R$ 26.60 [6.50 euros] per month charged by NYT. INDIE would charge less that these mainstream news sources, but draw from a larger reader base – much like the successful principle behind music streaming. The monthly subscription fee for INDIE should not exceed R$ 9.90. One strategy would be to offer the first year subscription for R$ X in order to bring in readers and promote loyalty during the company’s first year.

INDIE also aims to improve the paywall system by creating subscriptions by browsing time and reading or through micropayments, for example. Until the launch, we will create new forms of payment.