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How Phuketwan (blue line) compares with other Phuket news outlets. Comparisons can be struck with the world's online sites at Alexa.com

Read the Future, PhuketWAN Asks

Sunday, August 4, 2013
PHUKET: How much would you be prepared to pay for your twice-daily dose of Phuketwan? We ask this question knowing that a certain type of reader will fire off a predicable response.

But we also know that there are thousands of more thoughtful readers who seldom express an opinion just for the sake of it, and who actually appreciate what Phuketwan provides - for free.

Traditional media around the world is now in its death throes. Readers and advertisers are turning away from print faster than you can say ''newspapers are obsolete.''

In Australia, newspaper brands that once turned a huge profit and produced great journalism are rushing to quit print and move online.

It's the same everywhere. Print is over.

Rupert Murdoch is among those leading the charge, with that icon of British press freedom and topless page three girls, The Sun, shrinking behind a user paywall. (sign up quick and a free Calvin Klein Delicious Pout Lip Gloss is yours - choose from three colors and flavors.)

Phuketwan already operates with a small, dedicated staff but larger organisations everywhere are shrugging off workers in the rush to get out of print and to develop a paying online model.

It isn't easy. New data in Australia reveals an alarming disparity for media players: for every $1 lost in print revenue, just 8 cents is recovered in online ads.

This means that national dailies are shrinking because they can only afford to be city-based, and city-based newspapers are shrinking because they can only afford to be community-based.

The Boston Globe, which changed hands for $1.1 billion two decades ago, was snapped up this week for $70 million.

New models are emerging and feisty community-based online products have a chance of survival if they do their job well and prove their value.

Phuketwan, the first Phuket English-language online news outlet to provide Comment access and Photo Albums and to win a brace of international awards, is now considering what to do next.

Going behind a paywall is one of our options.

Since we began, we've had the support of loyal sponsors who have stuck with us through thick and thin. In return, they have enjoyed the benefits of being associated with a quality product.

Those loyal brands are being seen each day now by a greater number of readers than ever. However, Phuketwan still requires more support to break even.

The kind of paywall we envisage means some content would still be free, but top value content would come at a cost to subscribers only.

The advantage would be that behind the paywall, we'd be free to be even more revealing and outspoken than we have been in the past.

Ultimately, the choice is ours. We could shut up shop and walk away, as some other publishers are contemplating.

We could appeal for more sponsorship support to cover our costs - and any profit would go towards improving our journalism.

Or we could move towards the paywall model, with users contributing to buy Phuketwan online in the way their grandparents once traditionally subscribed to have a newspaper thrown over the fence.

We're interested to hear your views. As always, we are most interested in readers who have something of value to add.

Comments

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I would be prepared to pay a monthly 'paywall model' fee for your news-site.

Considering the popularity of your website, you could also implement a 'paid' property listing section.

Can you send me advertise costs for your website?

Posted by Mr. K on August 4, 2013 11:44

Editor Comment:

Sure. Thanks for the suggestion.

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A paywall may give a few subscribers but not many I think. So I think that if you can keep it running as it is then that is probably the best you will ever do. As it is there are already a lot of news media in the Phuket area so the competition is hard.

Posted by Sailor on August 4, 2013 12:03

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What about a subscription newsletter; you could set up a PayPal subscription services with ease and charge either a monthly or annual fee.

You might consider becoming a non-profit with any profits going to worthy causes; this could help boost subscription.

Posted by Graham on August 4, 2013 12:26

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Rupert Murdoch loses millions of viewers with his Fox TV programs with their 60% content 40% adverts formula. I even know people who go to friend's houses or hotels rather than watch Fox sports, Star or ESPN at home.
As to your idea of a paywall, I would be supportive as being an ex resident I like to keep up with the news. Also, with any luck it would et rid of the more abusive and sometimes inane comments that really don't have their place on PhuketWan. Biased, I know, but you asked for views. How much? That is for you to propose.

Posted by Pete on August 4, 2013 13:47

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Many news sites uses a hybrid model. They publish some news free of charge and the most interesting articles are whole or partly hidden behind a key, only for paying readers.

Posted by Niku on August 4, 2013 14:35

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I will never pay for any news online, and I m sure I m not quite alone with that

Posted by carlo on August 4, 2013 15:12

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The obvious problem you would appear to lie with your comment "Phuketwan already operates with a small, dedicated staff" ... The assumption from this is that you are and always have been working on a very tight budget
Comments/Observations/Suggestions:
A cash injection from either existing Directors/Big Island Media or a new source
Amalgamation with another online and/or newspaper outlet
Sponsorship is an obvious step forward but as you have been registered over 6 years I assume this has constantly been reviewed ... In many Sports Streaming Sites it has failed to produce any benefit and many have closed
Propose assistance from readers on a free-of-charge basis for a limited period
A different approach to "Editor Comment:" ... No need at this stage to elaborate further other than to say that many readers are going elsewhere
The Phuket media "rival" sites are currently ranked in terms of global web traffic as follows:
Phuket Gazette #19,481
Phuket News #39,145
Phuketwan #51,093
A change of Editor or PW structure
The issue of a Mission Statement and Site Rules
Graham ... Your suggestion of "... non-profit with any profits going to worthy causes ..." is fine in principle but it must be controlled/monitored by others [an independent body] not PW ... It has been tried elsewhere [non-media] and has failed
Pete ... "... rid of the more abusive and sometimes inane comments that really don't have their place on PhuketWan." ... You are entitled to your views but in this matter you are in the minority ... You need to investigate the trail that may be the explanation relating to the comments that are posted [many I can assure you are not]
Here endeth [for the time being] :-)
Ed ... No need to rip the heads off all your Barbie Dolls [again]

Posted by Amazed in Thailand on August 4, 2013 16:24

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Why not set up a job seekers section, like so many other papers, on and off line? And all the companies that look for employees, should also contribute to Phuketwan, because when someone clicks on the add, it is some sort of advertisement for the company as well. I would pay a fee to keep on reading this pare as well, and if you would make an ipad app, I would buy it .

Posted by Charles on August 4, 2013 16:45

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I would not suscribe for your content. As much as I like to read it.
You should boost your ad revenue by letting google put some ads on. Could be even useful for me, as they tend to tailor it to the user.
Additional open a donate link and give us a target. Everyone could give as much as she/he wants. That I would do (or do on other services...)

Posted by Lena on August 4, 2013 17:52

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Online subscription with THB 500,- per month would be fine with me. Would be great if you could bring up an APP for iPhone/iPad in that case.

Posted by Jakub on August 4, 2013 18:25

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Short side of a long story, I'd pay. Sure there are quite a few news papers in print and online. BUT I like my news in English and then and where it happens. The others news outlets have their headlines a week too late. They tell you we just get news accurate for you. . . cr@p. They're just too late off the mark
Go PW I'd stand beside you for the up to the minute news in our area. I'm an expat by the way. Now how much will per month be, laa kaa kon Thai krab?

Posted by Robin on August 4, 2013 19:55

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I think having adverts in the email you send out will keep your audience and pay for them in another way. maybe make a deal with your audience , fill out this Google Form so we can send you advertising about things you love and you don't have to pay anything for the premium content

Posted by Anonymous on August 4, 2013 20:45

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Maybe pay newspapers are the future inevitable,I do note Phuketwan dont seem to have any personal columns being obituary, engagement/wedding announcenents or yamaha for sale, a tradeing post page or similar ,this is the life blood of some papers,with the world explosion of ebay maybe theres some scope for a phuketwan ebay type sales section maybe its way out of what you consider your core activity or capital and labor costs may be prohibitive just a thought.

Posted by slickmelb on August 4, 2013 21:16

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I would not pay for the service, you would do way better to have a paid for ad section for goods and services, condo rentals excreta, and pick up some google ads.

Posted by Tim on August 4, 2013 21:40


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