In the latest “freemium” experiment, Christian Science Monitor in May will start charging for Web videos of its longstanding “political breakfast” series. The cost will be $14.95 per month or $99 per year to see videos of the events, which have featured interviews with U.S. presidents and other heavyweights and luminaries. CSM is still seeking ad sponsors.
As for meeting its goal of erasing its $17 million deficit by 2013, the media company is still depending on its print product. A year ago, it took a bold step by folding its daily print edition and relaunching it as a glossy newsweekly (as well as focussing more on the Web). CSM also created a daily paid e-mail edition, which now has 3,000 subscribers paying $5.75 per month.
Since then, the weekly print circulation has beat CSM’s expectations, reaching 76,000 from 43,000 a year ago. Monthly unique visitors to the Web site grew to 5.3 million from 3.2 million a year ago, per the company (citing Omniture). CSM is still looking for cost savings, though; this spring, it eliminated two members of its 82-person staff. “We have quite a ways to go, but we’re on track,” editor John Yemma said.