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Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Paid content ? Forget it.

Media content hiding behind a paywall as a breed is becoming fast extinct. Most publications have either dismantled their paywalls on their own because of depleting web traffic or competition edged them out by throwing similar content for free. Just as I was mentally speculating the odds of WSJ tearing down its paywall, Scott Karp has a nice post predicting it wouldn’t take too long using NYT example.

I’ve never been gladder. Excerpts -

“The new economics of media make charging for content nearly impossible because there is always someone else producing similar content for free — even if the free content isn’t “as good as” the paid content by some meaningful metric, it doesn’t matter because there’s so much content of at least proximate quality that the paid content provider has virtually no pricing power. As smart, talented, and insightful as the New York Times columnists behind the paid wall are, there are too many other smart, talented, insightful commentators publishing their thoughts on the web for free.

The remains the last great bastion of paid content on the web, and with the News Corp acquisition, the pressure to tear down the walls will likely be too great to resits. Even if it’s true that the WSJ has the highest quality business content bar none, the web is so awash in good, great, and utterly crappy business content, all free, that WSJ is holding onto its paid subscribers through sheer brand strength alone.”

The ability of the web to shrink revenue streams is amazing. It takes a really disruptive, significantly value creating something to get paid.



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