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Archive for September 2009

The pay wall: Good idea? Or too little, too late?

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The word carries a sense of enforced separation — walls, as in pay walls. Keep out those who don’t belong — meaning those who don’t, won’t, or can’t pay.

Managers of content-provision corporations — there’s no point any more in calling them “newspaper companies” — are desperate for revenue after enduring years of print ad losses. So, after 15 years of giving away the milk for free online, they’ve finally mustered up the cohones to at least talk about charging for content on their websites. They speak of this in a fiscal language the reporters they’ve fired would never use — the content-provision managers talk of monetizing their sites, of incorporating paid-content strategies, of generating additional digital revenue.

And if you believe pay-content impresario Steven Brill of Journalism Online, about 1,000 publishers — er, content-provision specialistsexpect to make $900 million at $8.33 a month from the 10 percent of online website visitors Mr. Brill thinks would be willing to cough of up the cash. But an American Press Institute study says only 51 percent of publishers (who voluntarily completed a survey) think they can charge successfully for online content.

But what does “successfully” mean? And who gets to define it? Easy: Cui bono?
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Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

September 21, 2009 at 4:59 am

Posted in Uncategorized