Mark Cuban, owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks and cable channel HD Net, is a billionaire entrepreneur for his ability to think outside the box and commit himself to new ideas.
And he may just have saved newspapers.
Cuban recently posted a blog post about why newspapers’ main priority should be getting their readers’ credit cards on file so that they will be more likely to make small content purchases based on convenience. He cites Amazon.com’s success with easy one-click shopping, and thinks that newspapers could essentially utilize the same system. By having readers’ credit cards on file, readers would only have to simply click on a premium content article (or video, audio, photo, etc.) and pay a small price to view it. Rather than sifting through special online packages, users could purchase the content they want and when they want it.
Cuban also points out how easy it would be to get readers’ credit cards on file. He suggests that newspapers offer small rewards — his example is a free local music download — if they register their cards. He says that readers are turned off by the prospect of entering credit card information and need some inspiration to do so.
Cuban is not alone is this idea of micro-payments. Some newspapers have already experimented with this form of payment, and now Google is trying to get on the bandwagon.
The main reason that this could work is that it plays on the public’s tendency to make impulse purchases. Ever been checking out at a grocery store and bought a candy bar because it was convenient and cheap? I previously thought I wouldn’t be interested in purchasing online content from newspapers, but I could see myself paying for low-price items that I really wanted to read if I already had my card on file. Does this change how you think of purchasable online newspaper content? If an article is only 50 cents, would you be willing to have your card on file so that you could conveniently purchase it if you wanted to?