Blogs > Frye on the News

Keeping his eye on the news and offering commentaries and insights on what is happening in Oakland County, around the world, on the tube and in the news.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Pay wall or not to pay wall?

According to a biting reaction by media critic Jeff Jarvis on Rupert Murdock's decision to go with the pay wall around some of his UK properties, the answer is NO. And I don't see how excluding a large part of the population — those of us who are used to getting our online news the easiest way possible, without a credit card — will help grow an audience, benefit advertisers and actually make money.
Isn't the point of the Web to expand outward, reaching people you could have never reached before? Doesn't sound like the Times and Sunday Times is seeking to do that.
If the proper way forward for this business is to generate revenue directly from the users, then it appears news will be more narrowly focused and reach a small but dedicated audience.
It is not reaching the masses, and if advertising is no longer a part of the news economy, then the masses need not be bothered.
However, I don't see the news economy changing the much. The medium will change, though. Newsreaders will still seek out what interests them and they will do so for a minimal cost — instead of a dimes-a-day subscription, they'll pay for general internet or mobile access — and advertisers will continue to crave them.
And the best news content will generate the greatest interest and hence the strongest advertising dollar.
TV commercials are almost pointless as I DVR nearly everything, even pausing sporting events, so I can skip over the ads. (I do like some movie previews on the big TV screen, much better than small laptop screen). Radio ads have long been ignored in my car, first by the button and variety, then by CDs and iPod, and now with satellite radio and its plethora of channels, mostly commercial free.
I get the radio for free with the car for now, but will I renew for a little bit a month. I'd pay for radio I think, because of the content, but I may not because I'm not in the car that much and we also have a DVD player. So it's unlikely I would pay for that.
I do not see myself offering up to pay for news, though, because it'll be somewhere for free or else it's not that important to me.
I mean, it's a paywall. That's what it's called. That sounds like a bad business model, keeping people out.
Like the inheritance tax becoming the death tax, Murdock should rename it.
Let's see....Exclusive club? Maybe, but I don't see mass readership. Restricted site? That'll keep em away. Going alone? Hmmm, sounds like a blogger. I look forward to seeing some numbers down the road.

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Blogger Stephen Frye said...

Ha, debating this issue with readers at

May 7, 2010 at 1:00 PM 

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