Since the early-2010s, newspapers have turned increasingly to paywalls as a way to monetize their digital content and maintain quality journalism. Yet this strategy has led to a steep drop in their web traffic.

In the February issue of the Journal of Interactive Marketing, Ho Kim, Reo Song, and Youngsoo Kim offer insights into why online newspapers lose readers and how they can avoid doing so. It turns out that online newspapers thinking of rolling out a paywall can predict its effect on their pageviews by looking at their readers and content.

If newspapers with a relatively conservative readership set their paywall price too high, then they will lose substantially more readers than a more liberal one. This means that owners of conservative newspapers may wish to set their paywall price lower.

Kim, Song, and Kim also make the point that there are a variety of equally important factors as political slant: although it is true that more stories about business/economics increase page views, competitive reactions, content relevant to readers, and the uniqueness of published content need to be considered when introducing a paywall.

Until March 14, you can read the article for free here.