Charging for content: Some media outfits chase scale, while others pursue premium pricing

Is it better to take a little money from a lot of people, or a lot of money from a few? In Britain the Times and the Sunday Times newspapers are about to take the latter course by asking people to pay for news online. It is a bold move: the Times, which is owned by News Corporation, is a mainstream paper in a fiercely competitive national market. And the paywall it is building is a mighty one that is impervious even to Google’s web crawlers.Paywalls are rising across the media landscape as many firms conclude that revenue from online advertising alone is not enough to make ends meet. The Tallahassee Democrat, a newspaper owned by Gannett, starts charging from July 1st. Hulu, a free video website that was launched in America in 2008, said this week that it would begin selling subscriptions. see:The end of the free Internet? Asking online users to pay for content hasn’t worked so far, but iPads and smart phones may change their minds about the free Internet
“Information wants to be free” has long been the mantra of the Internet. Once a video, a song, or a news story is on the Web, it’s harder to rein in than a roomful of curious cats.Free introductory offers are a business staple. But as a long-term strategy, “free” doesn’t make much sense: How can content creators afford to keep producing if they aren’t paid?Advertising is one way to pay the bills. But Web companies are still scrambling to understand and measure the impact of online ads. Meanwhile, many advertisers remain skeptical of the medium and question how heavily to rely on it.

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