Some hard truths about paywalls

Ask yourself if it’s more or less the same that’s freely available at a million other places online. “If so, you should not put your content behind a paywall, because people will just click somewhere else for it,” writes Gawker’s Hamilton Nolan. “When a media outlet evaluates itself in this way, it is necessary for its editors and executives to momentarily suspend their egos.”

Hamilton gets extra points for honesty:

Gawker Media — a fine, fine company that entertains millions of readers online every month — would not be a good candidate for a paywall, simply because no matter how good our content is, a paywall would immediately cause readers to go and seek out similar (lower quality, of course) content elsewhere online, where it is freely available.

Who can get away with charging for online content: “High quality national newspapers (NYT, WSJ, probably the WaPo, and… ?), sites that offer quality financial news to an audience for whom a paywall’s cost is negligible (WSJ, FT, Bloomberg), sites that cater to very specific niche audiences with highly specific news that can’t be easily found elsewhere (Politico, trade publications of all types, small local newspapers), sites offering very high quality proprietary longform journalism published on a frequent basis.”

* A few hard truths about paywalls and the future of media (gawker.com)

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