Rise of the paywall?


One much touted approach to the ‘paywall’ business model for news media is that being promoted by Journalism Online. This article is an illustration of  some of the articles appearing, especially in the US media. It remains to be seen how the service will work and what sort of packages will attract readers. The business model envisaged apparently will allow each publication to decide it’s own package and the nature of restricted content.

Frankly, I wonder if it will work. It may have some success, but that success may well be at the expense of other publications.

For example, prior to the NBR erecting it’s paywall I had stopped buying the NBR print edition, because at NZ$9.50 I increasingly felt that it was an expensive item for what I received. I turned to the e-paper. That option was discontinued around the same time the paywall came into force. For a limited time, soon to expire I will receive the print edition.

Yet I find that the NBR does not really afford me anything special at the end of the day. If I really want to I can go to the library to read it, or buy a one off copy.

I am certainly highly unlikely to pay the expensive subscription to go behind the paywall.

The business model needs to accommodate casual readers and permit access at a low per article price, not the expensive per article price a number of publications now seem to charge.

Now a model along the lines of Press Reader’s which gives you access to many journals at varying levels might work, but is that what Journalism Online envisages?

We will have to wait and see. One thing though, I do not think the individual paywall will work for many newspapers, unless thay have a global reach and range like the FT and the WSJ. The NBR is, in my opinion, just not that special.

Other media may struggle given that there will still be a plethora of other sources such as BBC, CNN, ABC etc

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