Under Hughes, The New Republic will follow the tack of many other publishers by putting greater emphasis on generating online revenue from readers. But doing that means changing the relationship with the audience, Hughes said. Titles like The New Republic now have to make the case that you get more for your $35 annual subscription than a print product delivered to your mailbox. “People are not willing to pay for access to content in a digital environment,” he said. “But I think they are interested in supporting brands they believe in, and I think they are interested and willing to pay for experiences.” Experiences, to Hughes, could be anything from the immersive setting of an iPad app to subscriber-only events held in cities around the country.
I think the key insight and thesis here is that readers may be more willing to purchase and support publications than the web conventional wisdom believes, but the format, packaging, and delivery may need to look and feel different. The experience has to be different feel more valuable than current web sites.
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