Newspapers: Forget Paywalls, Take Content Live

Only 'experiences,' not content, can save the news: Jenkins
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 11, 2009 9:20 AM CDT
Newspapers: Forget Paywalls, Take Content Live
A spread from the Guardian during protests against the G20 in London.   (©markhillary)

Suddenly every newspaper is talking about a Journal-style online paywall or a "freemium" subscription model, but Guardian columnist Simon Jenkins is resigned that "stunned and traumatized" papers are on their way out. Instead of paywalls, Papers should learn from the battered music industry, which has used "the long-tail economics of live enterprise" to fund hard-to-sell content. Newspapers' brands are still viable, even if their finances have collapsed.

"Newspapers will have to generate new markets for their wares," the columnist writes: concerts, sporting events, seminars, dating agencies. To survive, the content must become only the "core activity" supporting a diverse mass brand: "Goodbye Guardian, welcome the Guardian Experience." (Read more paywall stories.)

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