Should Stereophile charge for online access to all of its magazine content? Why or why not? How would you handle supporting a more complete website?

Reader "Bob" says that he'd be very happy to pay for access to a complete Web-based version of <I>Stereophile</I>, and suspects other readers would too. Do you agree that this is a good idea?

Should <I>Stereophile</I> charge for online access to all of its magazine content? Why or why not? How would you handle supporting a more complete website?
I agree with Bob; here's why:
20% (53 votes)
I have a better idea:
42% (110 votes)
The paper magazine is all I need.
32% (84 votes)
Don't care.
5% (12 votes)
Total votes: 259

Grosse Fatigue's picture

I think you should have a Web site a deux vitesses, then. One unchanged, just like this one, which is near perfect, and a second one for our friends abroad who would like sometimes to download the magazine for a fee instead of having to wait for weeks to get it in the mail.

Niels Jonker ('s picture

How about if you combine the best of both worlds? Post previews and maybe one review of the current issue, post some of the reviews of the two months before, then post all of the reviews of the older issues beyond that. If you want to get the current reviews online, you pay for those. This way, you give people an incentive to sub- scribe to the magazine. Niels.

Russell Gontar's picture

At the very subscribers to your print magazine should have free access to the web version. You might find you'll pick up more subscribers if you give away alot of information on your web site like does. Make up any losses in online advertising.

CSO's picture

It would be great to have immediate access to back issues and complete reports, and I would pay for this--though not often.

The Me's picture

Stereophile, I can tote it around and read it at my leisure.

(Subscriber) John Rendall's picture

I use the Net about 10 hours a week, largely to research audio products. There is only one zine that I know of that charges and that is The Abso!ute Sound. I can't tell you how loudly that speaks as to the focus of the magazine (money). In the July issue of Stereophile, the editor's column describes sharing our audio passion with everyone, not just the wealthy or the technical minded. While I understand the need to fund the website, paying for content is not the way to go. Yes, I need a searchable database of reviews to help me build my system. If was only accessible by fee, then I would simply type and get any product review I need from a multitude of other audio sites. Again, I understand your desire to have the site pay for itself, but I would rather pay $0.10 more per subscribed copy and have access to your database.

Jake Dicus's picture

I do agree with Bob, but this pay service would have to include a massive upgrade of what Stereophile's website is now. Upgrades should include a better search engine and a redone review section with a searchable database that actually tells you about each article. I think a pay service is reasonable as long as the service is worth it.

cd's picture

Those who visit your site will more often than note also visit the adverts 'hyperlink.If you expect to make a profit overnight than it is going to be eclipsed by other free online review. the only aspect is the quality and realibilty of the review in concern. Let's maintain a free access. Eventually, advertisements should able to generate good income.

Gary W.'s picture

Allow subscribers to the paper version free access to all info on the Web. It would allow us to throw away the mags rather than keep them. Allow others to subscribe to the Web version at a discounted price to the paper version, as it would be less expensive for Stereophile, therefore less expensive to subscribers. Personally, I like reading the paper magazine and don't like reading off of my monitor. But it would be a good resource after I've thrown away the hard copy.

charles wallace's picture

Charge only those that havenot already shelled out the money for a hard copy subscription. Why should just anyone be able to print out the reviews and articles and haul 'em into the can when I have to wait for a new issue every month for my blessed bathroom reading???

Peter Johnson's picture

Charge for the whole magazine, but also let people select say individual articles, charging say $1 a page.

KRB's picture

Offer an e-subscription as in a Adobe PDF file (complete w/ads). This shouldn't be too much trouble as you probably layout the whole issue using computers already. You'd have me signed up as a subscriber instantly. Think about the savings as a publisher: less to print, less to mail, happier international subscribers that don't have to wait as long for their issues to arrive. You could even targeted adverts depending on the subscriber's locale. Do it!

Harold B.  Roberts's picture

I Have been a long tune subscriber to stereophile and see no need to pay to also pay for a Web-based version of stereophile. Also where is my sept 2000issue. It has been on the newstand here for 10days though my sept 2000issue has'nt shown up.

Jim Strange's picture

Subscribers to the hard copy should have access to the web mag free. Web subscribers should have access to full magazine at a discount appropriate to the lack of printing costs.

Tang's picture

Only if it's cheaper than the paper magazine.

Martin's picture

I'd pay for the web version , but would like a web subscription to include online access to All past Stereophile issues . Also, I'd like to see all back issues available on a CD-ROM or DVD ..., , . The Consumer Reports websites might be a useful model ..,

Rob Nelson's picture

I have been heavily involved in B2B Web and e-commerce products for the last five years, playing a leading role in a very successful company. I am a true digital-age believer, but print will always have a role, and I will always want to read print-based magazines, like Stereophile. What I would pay for online from Stereophile is a different type of product that let me view specific past reviews and compare specs and ratings of equipment I was considering . . . or perhaps an interactive recommendation feature of what equipment to look for based on habits, preferences, current type of equipment, and room size. Interactive message boards or chats within the stereophile community, build a knowledge base that could answer audio questions, review tweaks, etc. . . . integration with sites and companies that offer specialized or hard-to-find or audiophile recordings. Putting a print magazine online is stupid—the Web has gone beyond that—but shifting the paradigm to see how you can use the medium for delivery of content in the context of how the user wants or needs it, depending on the point of reference, is smart. Then go on to build interactive-type features that let the user take advantage of your content and expertise. Then you will start to add value by giving me something I can't get in print. I can't lie on the couch and play my system with a computer in the same way, or read it in bed, so, an online version of your print magazine is a waste of your effort. It will eventually die, after you sink a lot of money into it, but you have a lot else to offer if you stretch yourselves and take a different approach that will complement and bolster your excellent print product.

Karl's picture

I think many people have a difficult time reading large amounts of content on line. In addition, being bed time reading, I much prefer the printed and bound format of the magazine.

Zoran Low's picture

It has to be cheaper then the paper version. It would add a choice to a subscriber.

Bernard L.  Foster's picture

do it, do it for free or, someone will crack your site and will offer thar same info for free...

Uday Menon's picture

Let the advertisers pay. Put in some neat ads that will encourage users to click. Split articles across pages so ads get more exposure. Give us the content for FREE. We promise to keep the advertisers coming !'s picture

Paper+ink+shipping = high co$t$. Stephen King books online, you bet. Just think: Stereophile Online: lower cost, no storage, environmentally friendly. Sign me up.

Mike Waddle's picture

I prefer kicking back in a comfortable easy chair or lying in bed to read Stereophile, not in an uncomfortable computer desk chair.

william j.  pavlou, m.d.'s picture

Web site should be free and as complete and functional as possible. It should be an alternative to subscriptions. On the other hand, if it becomes pay for service, subscribers should have no charge passwords.

Michel Haddad's picture

First of all, who is "Bob". Secondly, why is there no choice for "no I do not think Stereophile should charge for it's web-based version. From what I understand, most revenue is from advertising and most cost from printing and distribution. If you eliminate the printing and distribution, and you maintain the revenue, you can "distribute" it for free and get an even wider audience. Maybe people will become more interested in "real. high fidelity instead of MP3.

casey's picture

I think if you made the web version available amontrh or two behind you may find new subscibers who are not familiar with your magazine now becoming interested.Just like the DVD and music if they becomes more affordable more people would buy and they would not have to worry about piracy. People would rather own the original than a copy. Same with your magazine if older issues were available on the net for reading people would get to know the best stereo mag out there. With your cover price at $7.00 it might csare away some customers from buying a copy to try out. But with the price of a subsciption it becomes affordable to most everyone

Bob Bernstein's picture

Just make the online subscription optional. We can either have the full online version by subscribing, or the paper magazine by subscribing, or the non-subscription online version here. Personally, i will not pay for a full online version because i enjoy the mobility of the paper magazine.

BC's picture

You do that and I'll stop visiting.

Ren's picture

I don't have a computer at work, where I use my breaks to read Stereophile instead of listening to the latest gossip.

Herv's picture

Regarding the problems related in obtaining my issues on time each month (I live in Switzerland), and also the storage room all these magazines need, I Web-based version could be nice. Of course the reader should have acces to the whole back issues as well. I think that the best solution is offering a special subscribtion which would include both the paper AND the web version. So we would only keep the interesting stuff on paper, then rely on the web for the rest.