Charging for content – the beginning of the end?

28 Jan

PAYWALLS, a major talking point in journalism right now, are they good or bad? Will they kill or revolutionise the industry?

Alan Rusbridger, Guardian Editor-in-Chief spoke of paywalls this week at the 2010 Hugh Cudlipp lecture at London College of Communication.

Rusbridger is critical of the paywall business model, claiming it would remove the industry from a digital revolution which is allowing news organisations to engage with their readers more than ever before.

I would disagree with this view; I believe that paywalls will actually enhance the two-way relationship between the consumer and the journalist. With applications like Twitter leading journalism into social media, there is constant communication between the reporter and his readers.

A paywall will indeed limit the amount of people who read the news online, but will this filtering not just separate the consumers who are serious about news, from the rest of the bunch?

Surely the quality of communication will be greater between industry and its customers if those purchasing the paper digitally have a genuine interest and love for news?

America has seen a number of papers who have tried it, and opted against it, whereas there has been a number of have taken paywalls on board and stuck with it.

The New York Times for instance has confirmed it too will introduce a paywall to its website by 2011.

Whilst we have no idea how paywalls will work in the UK, there is only one way to find out, and that is to take the plunge and try it.

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