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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

is blogging dying? « Previous | |Next »
January 3, 2013

Paywalls are becoming increasingly popular as a mechanism to help the mainstream newspapers stay afloat financially. They don't see much alternative to the economics of paywalls and digital subscription revenue.

In Australia The Australian is behind a paywall, as is Crikey. So is the AFR and, from all accounts, the rest of Fairfax will follow this year. That leaves the ABC as a free access site. However, paywalls, even in their New York Times form, are only a contribution to cash flow, not an answer. Cutting resources too rigorously – as Fairfax is doing means that you may not have the staff to man one news outlet properly, let alone two. Push up cover prices too zealously and the print product may go into precipitate decline before any online alternative can begin to cover it losses.

Kevin Drum points out at Mother Jones this is a trend that's a real problem for blogging:

I currently subscribe to three newspapers: the LA Times, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal. This costs me over a thousand dollars a year, but I need to have access to all these sites to do my job decently. But as more and more media sites start erecting paywalls, I simply won't be able to afford to keep up all the subscriptions. ... as more and more sites go down this path, my choices are going to get harder and harder.

He points out that blogging has always been critically dependent on having free access to a wide variety of media, since you need to trawl through huge amounts of material to find the occasional pieces you want to write about. But as free access gets rarer, blogging is going to get harder.

We will have to increasingly rely on backdoor entrances or porous paywalls. Hence the need for an Australian Independent Media Network

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 1:38 PM | | Comments (3)


The tech utopians used to argue that booming online advertising revenues would take the strain of change and, along with lower production costs, make online newspapers a natural success.

It hasn't happened. Digital ads on newspaper sites pay very little. They do not cover the costs of production.

In oz we have a small percentage that will take up paynews so the cost needs to be balanced to be affordable so that people will take it up and then present as a sellable number to entice advertisers.
Personally, i think 2 dollars a week is all the australian publications can ask to create the audience to create viability for advertisers. Newspapers will need to package to by incorporating established sites., gumtree, foxtel and alike.
I see the numbers too low here to make big business out of paywalls. Yes business to stop the flow away from print in a small way but not a fix.

I've been without my iPod for some time (>12 months - long story.) I got it back only to discover that most of the newspaper sites are no longer accessible to generation 2 machines. What happened to un iversality of access? Surely news media have lost the right to control the flow of public information while they continue to deny access to that information by certain classes of people?