Sunday, February 08, 2009

Mission possible? Charging for web content

First of two parts

It is going to be just as tough for publishers to overcome their Original Sin as it has been for mankind to get past the original Original Sin committed when Adam and Eve partook of the forbidden fruit.

The Original Sin among most (but not all) publishers was permitting their content be consumed for free on the web. Now that ad sales are about as low as the belly of the snake who caused the mischief in the Garden of Eden, a growing number of us have concluded that consumers are either going to have to start paying for professionally generated content or there won’t much of it left.

But it isn’t going to be easy getting them to do so, because free is the presumptive price of news, information and entertainment on the web.

The challenge facing media companies trying to charge for something they have given away for 1½ decades is illustrated by the experience of the recording industry, which has been far more proactive than most print publishers and broadcasters about trying to protect its product on the web.

In 2005, the most recent year for which statistics are available, 10 times more songs were downloaded illegally than were purchased lawfully, according to the Recording Industry Association of America, the music industry’s content cop, and the Institute for Policy Innovation, a Texas-based think tank whose research is cited by the RIAA.

As illustrated in the chart below, the institute estimates that 12 billion songs were downloaded illegally in the United States in 2005. In the same year, the RIAA reports, 634.8 million physical units of CDs, tapes and music videos were sold, while 553.1 million tunes were purchased on the Net and for mobile devices.

iTunes notwithstanding, my hunch is that the proportion of bootlegged music is higher today than it was four years ago. And, remember, this happened despite the music industry’s vigorous and consistent campaign against piracy.

Life today would have been easier if newspapers, magazines and other print-to-web media had recognized in the first place that their content was too valuable – and too expensive to create – to simply give it away on the Internet.

This colossal strategic miscalculation bit publishers extra hard, because easy-to-acquire free content on the web rapidly undercut the demand, and therefore the revenues, for their flagship physical products.

"Why would consumers buy the cow when the milk is free?” I asked in one of the earliest posts to this blog in December, 2004. “If a newspaper gives away its costly and valuable product for free on the Internet, it may win friends and influence people in cyberspace, but it won't gladden the advertisers who pay the freight back here on Mother Earth.”

Even now, an amazing number of publishers defend free content, because it generates tons of page views for all the banner advertising they hope to sell. The problem with this thinking is that banners are fast becoming the lowest form of advertising life on the web, because marketers favor targetable and verifiable ads that require payment only when a consumer clicks on them.

Cost-per-action ads also are popular because they are a whole lot cheaper than the sprawling displays in newspapers and magazines that a legendary merchant once famously noted are disregarded by at least 50% of readers. “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted,” John Wanamaker is reputed to have observed. “The trouble is I don't know which half.”

Wanamaker kept buying ads, but modern advertisers don’t have to. And they aren’t.

With the web awash in inventory and the demand for advertising slumping as the economy swoons, ad rates today are half of what they were a year ago. That’s another good reason to think about alternatives to the banner ad.

Next: How to get consumers to pay

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28 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Newspapers must either:

1) Stop charging for their print editions and continue to offer their online editions for free. This would result in an increase in newsrack, corner market, and home delivery of the print edition, thus increasing readership and ad dollars especially after the economy improves. The alts do it and make money.

2) Start charging for their online editions and continue to charge for their print editions. Online newspaper site visits are increasing, so the audience is there and growing. There would be a drop off in audience with paid online subscriptions, but at least there would be revenue whereas now the ad dollars are not sufficient to sustain giving away online access.

It is not a sustainable model to charge for the print edition while giving away the online edition. It is economic suicide, as we are seeing now.

11:42 PM  
Anonymous Matt Buck said...

It is a comforting thought that free content might be over for established media organisations. However, I think it is too late to re-impose a paid model with any prospect of market dominance, control, or profit, in the way it has been understood before. Many large media organisations are going to go under and the ones which don't will have to develop new funding models to survive. The lucky few, I think, will be highly creative in their deployment of product innovation and ideas. Sadly, these are not things which come naturally or easily to most large organisations.

2:13 AM  
Blogger Tim Windsor said...

Irrespective of your overall argument, I'd be very wary of trying to make a point using data supplied by the RIAA. They're just a notch above Pravda in the realm of objectivity. I mean, it's not like they've got an axe to grind or anything.

:-)

Also, I don't have the data handy, but I'd think that the massive growth of iTunes and, to a lesser extent, Amazon MP3, make the better case for free to fee. The dollar amount of paid digital content has spiked in recent years, helping to infuse new cash into another industry that's reaching for the oxygen mask wherever it can find it.

3:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are dead on! "Give away" your heart and soul(editorial content) while your "lifeblood"(advertising revenue) slips away is no way to create a financial model makes money. Print newspapers who continue to do this are catching falling knives.... while the cuts will not cause instant death the "patient"(print newspapers) will bleed to death.... some call it Chinese water torture.... drip by drip print newspapers are becoming irrelevant...

4:02 AM  
Blogger Howard Owens said...

I can't believe we're still having this discussion. It's so tiresome. The case against paid content is so irrefutable as to make any mention of paid content completely laughable.

You notice the TV side of the industry never has this paid vs. free conversation. In fact, TV news site producers salivate at the idea of newspapers charging for content. It would open the market for them to turn their sites into the #1 local news source.

Or consider the case of the Watertown Daily Times (New York), which once charged for its content online, until a local one-man start up began aggregating local headlines and UGC. It took WDT a year after switching to free to overtake Newzjunky.com as the #1 local news source online.

Or what about the San Diego Union-Tribune? How could the U-T ever get away with charging for content. Not only do they face the competition of five television stations, but the Voice of San Diego and other online news start ups.

Any newspaper that switches to paid faces an immediate threat of a disruptive start up that will offer as much or more news online for free at a much lower cost basis (producing news for online is much more efficient than print, so a smaller staff can produce a great deal more content that a typical print newsroom).

There is no historical mistake in newspaper having given content away for free online. It was inevitable and unavoidable. It's also well documented that newspaper readers have NEVER paid for content. As Walter Lippmann pointed out in 1922, news readers have NEVER wanted to pay much for news, as little as possible in fact, and free being better. Suburban home delivery became expensive for consumers, and they only put up with it because they were held hostage by lack of alternatives for written-word news.

Now they are freed of those shackles. They're not going to pay if they don't have to pay.

And if newspapers charge, as I've noted, they will have plenty of alternatives.

One of the most widely misunderstood quotes on the web is "information wants to be free." The rest of the quate is, "It also wants to be expensive." So, yes, Alan, you're right -- quality content is expensive to produce, but that doesn't negate the fact that it wants to be free - consumers want and expect it for free. That's the bare naked truth of the contradiction news producers face, and no wishful thinking about paid content rescuing newsrooms is going to change that fundamental force of nature.

If you want assured destruction of today's newspaper newsrooms, go ahead and start charging. It will be the end.

5:07 AM  
Blogger Dan Kennedy said...

What percentage of circulation revenue, on average, has historically been eaten up by the cost of newsprint, distribution, salaries for pressmen, ink (by the barrel!), presses, repairs to those presses, and the need to have a huge building in which to house them? Most of it? All of it?

Maybe you can educate us otherwise, Alan, but it's always been my understanding that we readers weren't paying for much more than the manufacturing and distribution costs associated with the content, which, in a sense, we were indeed getting for free.

Now our readers have done us the enormous favor of buying their own printing presses (their computers) and distribution system (Internet access). I understand there's a crisis, but it sounds to me like you want to charge people for something that has been free not just for the past 15 years, but forever.

Neither you nor anyone else would be talking about this if the advertising model hadn't collapsed. The real question is whether we can come up with a new model that works.

6:39 AM  
Blogger Newsosaur said...

In re the above question:

The price you pay for a newspaper does not cover the substantial costs of production and delivery.

(The San Francisco Chronicle reported recently that it costs $10 to print and deliver each copy of its Sunday paper.)

Newspapers lose money on every copy they sell and hope to make a profit on the advertising.

6:45 AM  
Blogger Dan Kennedy said...

Well, there you go. So you are proposing that we suddenly start charging for something that we have always given away. Somehow I don't think that's going to work.

6:51 AM  
Blogger Howard Owens said...

So, Alan, if newspapers have been unable to charge a sufficient subscription price to pay for printing and distribution, let alone content, how might they charge enough online, where at best subscription rates would be pennies on the dollar, to generate sufficient revenue to pay for even a fraction of a newsroom?

If the content is all that valuable to readers, why not just jack up the cost of the print product?

6:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a lifelong -- now retired -- newspaperman, I was going to write a lengthy comment until I read the 5:07 response by Howard Owens. It is a remarkably accurate and well-articulated analysis of the situation AS IT IS and not as the industry's newsosaurs WISH IT TO BE.
I will save myself and readers some time by just saying: Amen.

8:06 AM  
Blogger Steve said...

I am in 100% agreement with Howard Owens. If the newspaper industry takes the advice of old-media lions like Isaacson and Brill (both have high-profile calls for micropayments to save the industry), newspapers will die a quick death. The guys calling for this are like the music execs who fought digital tooth and nail instead of grasping the new reality and figuring out how to profit from it.

I'm surprised to find Alan move so sharply into this camp.

There are other ways, but of course "no one's figured it out yet." I think that within a week we'll be talking about a better new idea, not created by the old-media guard reintroducing failed models but by (who else) entrepreneurs outside of the news industry.

One last point: When we indeed do "save" the news industry, the old players will be smaller than before, yet still plenty strong enough to serve the public good as they always have. But they'll have shed those cost-$10-per-copy-to-deliver-on-Sunday shackles (unless the Sunday ad inserts remain strong and it makes economic sense to continue that).

Steve Outing

8:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Howard is right. Most news is a commodity, not because we have made it so, but because very little of it is truly unique. Couple that with low demand from consumers, many of whom would rather be entertained than informed, and you don't have a very strong case to charge for content.

Howard's suggestion that we charge more for print is intriguing, even though it may have been made in jest. There may be a case for very careful targeting of high-priced content to valuable demographics.

Personally, I'm of the belief that print should cost almost nothing. Perhaps not free, but close to it, such as a dollar a month for home delivery, whatever it takes to get the circulation numbers back up.

There is a related question, which is whether we are even producing the right kind of content. Think forward a few years when all TVs are net-enabled, cable TV has devolved to common carrier and consumers expect their news to be rich with video. How do we position ourselves against the TV stations in our markets, who have gone all-news because they have no networks anymore because the networks make more money distributing direct to the net.

8:44 AM  
Anonymous jean-yves durocher said...

Incredible, seems that the whole industry is thinking about the lowly buck:
http://blogs.zdnet.com/SAAS/?p=648&tag=nl.e539

I'll comment more later.

8:57 AM  
Anonymous Gerry Storch said...

Congratulations to Mr. Mutter for a well thought out article, and the same for his preceding four-part series.

I don't know if I can say it strongly enough but I'll try: newspapers are stark raving crazy to keep giving their web sites away for free.

If I'm a newspaper publisher and I and my colleagues across the nation are going down the tubes with Plan A, I would at least strongly consider a Plan B.

We frequently hear that people "want" free news. Well, duh. Of course they want free news.

I want free news. I want free gas. I want free food. I want free clothes. I want free housing. I want, I want, I want.

And when I was younger, I wanted a date with Farrah Fawcett.

Alas, Farrah proved too elusive for me even in my imagination. So, too, have free gas, food, clothing, housing, etc.

Why should news be any different?

Most intelligent people understand that there's a difference in the real world between what they want and what they can get or deserve to get.

It is often said ... in fact, it's said with tears in eyes by commenters on this site ... that the number of "readers" will decline if a site switches from free to paid.

Of course the number will decline. But who exactly will be leaving? The freeloaders, the mooches, the low-lifes who post bilious comments anonymously.

Freeloaders like me. The sites I look at daily or most days or at least occasionally are Sports Illustrated, Drudge, the media news roundup, Pro Football Weekly, NFL Draft Countdown, Newsosaur, Mickey Kaus, the Miami Herald and Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel sites even though I'm on Florida's other coast, a few conservative columnists of my random choosing, and the brilliant Real Clear Politics site during elections.

I read them all for free! But if they started charging and if I could afford it, I would stop being a freeloader and start paying ... and that includes you, Mr. Mutter ... because the content is, in my opinion, so good.

Here are two other ways we might look at this.

-- If I ran a supermarket ... and a newspaper is a kind of supermarket of information, isn't it ... I wouldn't want browsers in my store (free lookers). I'd want shoppers ... people who pay! People who grab baskets or carts and put food in them and go to the register. People who are serious. People who give me money so I can pay my employees.

Because when the Campbell's Soup guy is restocking the shelves, I don't want to say to him, "Hey, you should feel great, you got an awful lot of viewers of your soup cans as they passed down the aisle." I'd rather say, "Look at all the cans of soup you sold."

-- Or let's consider the newsletter concept. I used to take independent newsletters providing advice for Fidelity and Vanguard funds. They weren't cheap.

In the same way, I think a newspaper web site should become all-local, really commit to it, and become a kind of insidery paid newsletter about the community. And then pray enough residents care about the community they live in to subscribe.

But that would be the same as a good restaurant opening its doors every night praying that enough customers will want to come in and eat.

A couple of the posters' objections are almost too ludicrous to contemplate ... that a TV station or some lonely, smirking nerd at a computer could upstage a paper's paid site.

Even a big TV station doesn't come close to the staffing a paper offers for covering local news. If a paper with a basic monopoly can't create a compelling, worthwhile site you'd have to read if you want to know what's going on in your town, it doesn't deserve to exist.

Papers should stop giving it away for free because otherwise they'll go out of business. Simple as that.

9:22 AM  
Blogger Derek Poore said...

The biggest difference between what the music industry did and what newspapers could do is that people wanted music. Do people want newspaper content anymore? Should content quality be at the forefront of the conversation?

10:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The newspaper industry is not dying because it gives away content on the web. Try these two factors...

* Penetration of the print product has been in decline for decades, impacted by TV and cable.
* Revenue has been under pressure for the last decade due to dramatically lower rates charged by competitors on the internet.

Those are destructive outside forces unrelated to the industry's decisions about the internet.

Giving away content was a response to these realities in the '90s -- trying to regain audience and revenues and, everyone hoped, keep things status quo.

It hasn't worked out that way. There could be potential in a model that mixes a bit of paid with the free online content, but the truth is most newspapers (hell: nearly all) don't produce anything that the market will pay for. Remember the decades-long decline in penetration (call it reader appeal)? A TV station's web site meets the news needs of most readers.

Now, forced to lower themselves from the sinking ship to the much smaller lifeboat, some newspaper industry captains are looking back with regret.

It's time to jump. There's no other choice. There never was another choice, only a hope that hasn't worked out.

10:54 AM  
Blogger Ed said...

Howard Owens echoes a similar comment made on Alan's previous four-parter.

Like most online readers, print subscribers don't pay for content either -- never have. Their paid subscription is, in essence, a delivery fee, barely covering the costs of distributing the paper. Editorial expenses are not part of the equation.

1:11 PM  
Anonymous Dhyana Sansoucie said...

Food is a necessity. Farrah Fawcett would have been an amazing opportunity, not to be passed up (if you're a guy). There is so much news and information out there for free right now though that any demand for the local paper is because it's kind of nice in the morning, but certainly is no necessity in the age of the Internet and TV and NPR. It's increasingly an elastic demand, very dependent on being cheap to be popular.

Targeted advertising is going to have to pay the bills. We just have to figure out ethically and technically how best to implement it. Newspapers need more resources spent on changing their online business model from banner ads to more targeted forms.

Paying for content? Not going to happen. Micropayments as a solution? Maybe if it becomes more widely in use.

I prefer the economic model that the print newspaper is free from the box, delivery is a token charge ($5 a month), and online is free. Would this work? I don't know. All I have is a gut feeling. Alan should crunch the numbers for us.

Keep the paper small enough and you'll have yourself a profit.

2:06 PM  
Anonymous Reg said...

It may or may not be too late for newspapers to start charging for content, but the argument that readers have only ever paid a fraction of the actual cost of a newspaper is a spurious one.

It's true, as Alan points out, subscribers barely cover the cost of the production and delivery of the paper; advertising pays for the rest.

But just because only a small fraction of the cost is recovered from customers isn't a reason to junk any payment - as a number of behavorial economists have noted recently, there's a vast difference between free and paying a cent. Conditioning readers to pay something - even a small fraction of a cost - can be beneficial: It can possibly help cover some of the costs; or perhaps allow you to charge a higher CPM; or maybe bring people into a payments system that allows you upsell them other services (archive, community, whatever).

That's not to say any of the specifics of this will work; only that the argument about free vs. paid should be debated on its merits and not on an analogy that doesn't really hold.

Moving behind a pay wall isn't a real fix, either, unless the news organization provides something of unique value; while there is a lot of good stuff in a lot of papers, there are also lots of things that aren't particularly unique - weather forecasts, for example. Papers will have to restructure pretty significantly to find niches that work for them online.

2:21 PM  
Anonymous jean-yves durocher said...

The world as we know it started sometime when GOPHER went home and MOSAIC took over.

So DO NOT ever think that the industry has not gone trough a crisis, or given away the store for free.

Like radio:
http://ia310905.us.archive.org/3/items/thedetroitnews00detriala/thedetroitnews00detriala.pdf

In 1930 one Karl August Bickel wrote a book: New Empires, the Newspaper and the Radio.

Orrin Elmer Dunlap's "Radio in Advertising" even starts with a young man going to the New-York Time telling them, I guess, to stop printing a newspaper: RAdio was coming. What I also see on Google Book is a chart seemingly showing that advertising lineage was dropping due to the radio.

Another quote: Newspapers resent particularly having to give publicity in their radio news
columns to firms which have dropped newspaper for radio advertising...

"What for example could be staler than to-morrow morning's newspaper account of a prize-fight or political convention one has already received over the radio..." 1929!

"Part of the loss in revenue was attributed to the inroads made by radio broadcasting into the newspaper advertising field. Discussing this subject, a
report ..." 1932!

While I do no have the time, nor the will and interest to do a PhD thesis on this, seems that we've been there and done that. First with radio, then with television (which is no longer free as the nightmare on Digital TV will unfold on your screen for most American starting next week, bye bye rabbit ear, even your rooftop antenna may not do the trick, call the cable guy right now, they even bundled free internet at $50 a month!)

Can we publish, in peace, a product printed on paper, called a newspaper. Let someone figure out the stupid economic of the Internet (let's see how much money Google will make when everybody starts using "noarchive" as a rule!"

Maybe someone can show me how any paper save the biggest one on the planet may be able some day, God knows when, make a profit publishing for free on the Internet.

In our neck of the wood, the lowly LeDevoir, (circ 28,000 M/F, 46,000 Sat, multiply by 50 to get an idea of an USA circulation) has from day one been on the web, on a paid model. It's a niche product, yet it's circulation is growing.

3:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What other industry has thousands of independent producers placed throughout the country offering similar content? Not the record industry. There's maybe, what, four or five big record companies? Extend this to just about every industry in the U.S.

So like in every other industry, why can't there just be a few -- even four or five -- national news business that hire a handful of local people in local areas to cover local news. Just like Home Depot leverages its supply chain to source its various local stores, why can't the news business be structured like that, or than the valueless sentimentality of the local independent franchises?

3:28 PM  
Blogger Philip said...

Publicly-traded companies can create another revenue stream by giving web content free to investors who purchase an agreed-upon quantity of corporate shares.

3:42 PM  
Blogger SquirrelGM said...

A point to emphasize to start with:

Don't reject ideas out of hand because they've been tried once and failed. Even in the brick-and-mortar world, good ideas die more often than they survive. The Web intensifies the cycle, but doesn't entirely break from it.

That said ... this idea sucks.

The fundamental idea behind the paid content model is flawed, in part because the last great hurdle that newspaper folks can't get beyond is that the "article" model is a relic of the old business model. That's not to suggest it doesn't have value, but ... when you think about it ... the article is not a very good way to organize information on the web. An article's shelf-life is tiny, they're usually long and difficult to scan and, nine times out of ten, you have no idea if the information contained is researched and reliable on a longer scale.

Yet we publish article after article after article ... why? Because that's the business model we know.

Ever try to gather information about a city council by trawling a newspaper site? I have and God have mercy on your soul if you ever try. The information is thin, scattered about, and ... at most sites ... any article older than a couple weeks (car accident or mayoral profile) has been spirited away behind another fence somewhere. (I tend to ignore newspaper results when I'm researching via Google since I really don't need to see 10-20 "Page not found" errors in a given day.)

Newspapers piss away more information in a 24-hour news cycle than most web sites post in a calendar year. Why? Because they won't invest in codifying it into a useful, searchable form. Instead, they repurpose "stories" that will be worthless within a day and gone -- whether relevant or not -- within two weeks, anyway. It's an absolute waste of an overwhelmingly dominant position in most markets.

So now people are going to pay money on top of their Internet fees, their computers and more to read soon-to-be-dated car accident stories? They're going to chuck over cash to read stories written by horribly-underpaid staffers who might get comfortable with their beats before another round of turnover places an even less experienced writer in that post?

I just don't see the levels of people willing to pay for the product, as-is, to be necessary for sustained growth.

What would I do? What most (non newspaper) sites do. Offer a base free product and monetize the crap out of just about everything else. The Wall Street Journal enjoyed some success at paid subscriptions because it offers deep, online profiles of companies ... profiles that are (or at least, were) worthwhile to investors.

Where's the depth newspapers have developed that people might pay for? I worked for one paper that has just about everything that's been in the print product (and then some) since the mid-80s digitized and searchable for employees. Why not open that functionality up to the user? Do you think there might be a market for a t-shirt featuring the sports page from dad's state championship. Maybe a mug with grandma and grandpa's wedding announcement?

Why isn't the business staff at major papers cranking out e-books detailing the market status of different sectors, ready to be downloaded at $5 a pop? Why haven't the entertainment staffs doing e-book biographies of local musicians ... or actors ... or whatever? Podcasts of interviews with local heroes and stars available for "upgraded" members?

Not easy ... it'll take a huge investment (cash, not just stretching out already beleaguered staffers' time a little bit more) and patience, but a model could be built that ... along with targeted advertising and niche sites (general interest is dead, folks) should be able to sustain a nice operation, indefinitely.

Will it be the same? No .... but is that such a bad thing, really?

6:24 PM  
Anonymous Reg said...

SquirrelGM makes a great point: Articles are a ludicrous way to organize information. We have to develop a much better taxonomy that allows us to build more useful answers when people ask questions rather than making them read a dozen stories written at different times.

That doesn't invalidate a paid model; it only says that we need to provide a better-quality product for what we want to charge.

7:39 PM  
Blogger Clayfoot said...

Here's a case of things going in the opposite direction, from web to print (Hat Tip: PBS Media Shift blog). See www.theprintedblog.com

8:53 PM  
Blogger 10ksnooker said...

The only hope for newspapers is to give them away and hope that ad revenues pay for printing.

I actually think ending free access to PRAVDA news reports would be a good thing. It sure would limit the propaganda audience.

12:29 PM  
Anonymous Scott Bateman said...

Major daily newspaper sites generate about 30 cents per unique visitor per month. That's based on both research and personal experience.

But many newspapers want to charge $3 to $4 per month to let people view their Web sites.

Newspapers that have tried paid subscriptions in the past have failed in part because they simply charge too much for access.

I believe the only way to make this work is to handle paid online subscriptions the way we all handled paid print classified line ads that were upsold to Web sites.

Tack a small fee onto the print circulation rate -- maybe just a dollar or two every three months -- and give access to all print subscribers. Process the transaction through the print payment system to keep costs low.

For non-subscribers, charge a larger fee to access the site, but something still very small that requires either a six-month or 12-month subscription. One or three-month subscriptions wouldn't be worthwhile.

Either way, the site should still provide the first several paragraphs of the story to draw readers into it. However, at that point the site will be offering pretty much the same amount of content as the local TV station.

2:49 PM  
Blogger Aethernaut said...

I'm an admitted news hound, reading upwards of 50 articles a day, across say 20 or so news websites. I don't pay one red cent...as the paywalls go up, I go elsewhere for my addiction. My loss of course, especially with local news and the great content of journals like the New York Times and Wall Street Journal. I now meter myself to their free content as their structure allows.

It's not as though I object to paying for good news, just like I don't object to paying Amazon a $1 for every song I download. But I'm not going to pay the NYT X dollars, the WSJ Y dollars and the Daily Herald Z dollars per year for access to all their content. The idea would be insane as well as prohibitively expensive for me.

Newspaper, magazine and news outlets need to come up with some kind of universal micro-charge per article or an all inclusive $20 per month fee for access to dozens of news sites for me to even consider paying anything. When the alternative is free, news organizations must find a business model that offers reasonable value for reasonable revenue...paywalls as structured now won't work or won't work for long. It took the RIAA a lot of time and a lot of losses to come around to this way of thinking, but it's their only way ahead, as it will be with the news business.

11:57 AM  

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