If you've been following digital content news then you're probably familiar with the current debate on free vs paid content, paywalls, etc. Variety has come up with a unique approach to get people to read both their website and the paper edition. I'm not sure it's going to work in the long term.
We wanted to point out once again the great progress we’re making in giving our audience a real reason to read print even after readers have learned about all the breaking news from our Website.
On today’s front page, every story was significantly different from the one readers saw yesterday on Variety.com.
Our Web story early Tuesday listing the nominees for the Tony Awards was followed in print by a very different Tony story – one that looked at how the star-studded list would likely benefit the televised event.
Our initial Web story on News Corp.’s quarterly results explained that Avatar had helped the company achieve great results. The print version instead focused on how all this additional money was likely to put Rupert Murdoch into the deal-making game once again.
I don't have a subscription to Variety, so I could only look at a couple of the articles (the rest are behind a paywall). Here's what I think.
If I read a story on a website on Tuesday then by the time the paper comes out on Wednesday I will have move on. If you want me to read both, then the second article needs to be a follow up on the first. Don't repeat the same data in the lead paragraph. (They did this in the Tony Awards article. ) Instead, give details that I don't already know. If I'm familiar with the content presented in the first couple paragraphs then I'm going to skip the rest of the article. My time is finite, and my attention span limited.
But this could work if the content has value.