Steve Outing has an excellent article in Editor & Publisher about possible ways to save publications. One solution that he rightly says has no future is the pay-for-news system that Wall Street Journal is gonna try and maybe the New York Times and other places too. The solution that he puts more faith in is value-added extras for paying customers. He says that these might include: merchandise from the pub, lectures, seminars, phone applications, discounts with other businesses, etc.. Obviously, this ain’t a tried-and-true method yet but it’s definitely worth a shot. What does the industry have to lose at this point (that they haven’t already)?
But… as I’ve been arguing for a while, the big problem is that in a tech/Net world, there’s no such thing as long-term answers anymore. Any solution that comes into play is likely going to be wiped out by a hot new technology or social media paradigm in less than a year. As such, pubs/mags are going to have to keep experimenting and working on cutting edge tech solutions on an ongoing basis from now on if they want to survive.