It’s time for the newspaper industry to start charging for their online content. They gate it at the newsstand; why not at the home page?
Yes, yes. Readers will bolt to other sites that are free. How many of those sites are profitable? Newspapers are expensive propositions to produce, online or off.
Aren’t all online newspaper outlets playing chicken with each other to see who can hold out the longest, while bleeding rivers of red ink?
Very few newspapers have profitable online departments. Only two come to mind: The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. One charges it’s readers, the other is starting to.
As legions of young readers are choosing the Internet as their primary news source, newspapers need to reinvent themselves to create interactive news online that engages their readers in ways that a static printed page never will. The big players have the resources to build this level of content today, and should start charging for it. They’ll have to hang tough. If they do, other news outlets may join them. And if the content is great, people will be willing to pay.
It’s that, or newspapers may eventually find themselves among the casualties of the Digital Juggernaut.