Wall Street Journal does it; Financial Times does it. The New York Times is mulling about doing it. But what? They charge visitors who wish to browse articles on their website. I am used to receiving freebies on the net, meaning I would hesitate to enter my credit card details and pay. Uh oh! But if L. Gordon Crovitz and Steven Brill have their way readers online would have to shell out money to read newspapers online. Their software Press +, once integrated into the web content would enable publishers to charge readers.
Though unheard of at present, I think this trend will catch on. The reason is dropping advertising revenues, plunging circulation figures, and the high cost of newsprint. There could be a time when – like Bloomberg – all content could be subscribed electronically.
I don't know whether to be happy or sad, vis-à-vis the free browsing I am enjoying now versus the need to pay in future. Could you keep it very low, if at all you charge, please? But those who like this idea – you read it here, on this blog, right.
I had suggested this to a publisher friend once, but nothing came of it. He was still stuck in the advertising revenue model. But advertising spends are being challenged by entertainment, sponsorships and sports. If one releases an advertisement, there are five executives phoning up the office asking for appointments. This could infuse new blood, and a new revenue stream into the ailing print media.