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May 30 2011


Newspaper paywalls post on Huffington Post

There were two significant developments in the media in Canada last week.

The Huffington Post crossed the 49th parallel to set up Huff Post Canada and one of the largest newspaper groups, the PostMedia Network, dipped its toes into paywalls.

In my first post for the HuffPo, I discuss the metered model being tried out by PostMedia at two of its newspapers.

In the post, I take issue with the philosophy of charging readers for the news:

However, there is a more fundamental issue at play. People have never really paid for the news. By news, I mean the political infighting in city halls or the violence in faraway foreign places — the news that is important and matters but can be challenging to make relevant to a broad audience.

Readers were paying for the sport results, the lifestyle section, diversions like the crossword and horoscopes. The cost of producing “the daily miracle” as Canadian playwright David Sherman put it was largely borne by advertising sales. The subsidy model worked when mass media was the dominant model for distributing the news. The business of newspapers was delivering large audiences to advertisers, and they were pretty good at it.

I hope the post adds to the discussion on funding models. Head over to the Huff Post to read the full post and add your thoughts.

Don't be the product, buy the product!