Is “All The News That’s Fit To Print” Fit to Buy?

Four hours ago the New York Times started charging for online content.

Has your life changed yet?

Dennis Ryan, OLSON, AdvertisingLots of people are watching this paywall project closely. Advocates believe that the rapid adoption of mobile web, along with increasing consumer willingness to make micro-payments for apps and iTunes downloads, means that a proven provider like the Times may finally have a chance at monetizing their content. If nothing else, it’s hard to keep justifying spending resources perfecting a free website.

The Dallas Morning News put up a paywall three weeks ago. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution plans to add one before June. The fundamental challenge for all initiatives like this is pricing structure. The Times cleaned up the structure they announced a few weeks back in Canada, simplifying it down to three levels: a rate with unrestricted NYTimes.com and a tablet app, one with access plus a smartphone app and a digital all-in program that amounts to about $35 month. As of now, e-readers do not have an application but that could change.

Who knows, maybe newspapers won’t prove dead after all. Maybe like television they too will just change and expand their formats. And maybe, if this proves successful, we’ll come to believe that the public marketplace really does reward quality content.

Quality content like Rebecca Black iTunes downloads…

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By Dennis Ryan, CCO, OLSON

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