Wednesday, March 16, 2005

FREE NEWS ONLINE MAY BE COMING TO AN END

I don't need to tell you that the Internet has become a major source of people getting not only news and information about what's happening around the nation and world, but in their local communities as well. Many newspapers have now added online sites that include many of the stories which are also featured in the print edition. But that may be coming to an end, according to this New York Times article reprinted in today's Lakeland Ledger (which, BTW, is owned by the NYT).

Many newspapers require visitors to register in order to access their material online; this is a means of gathering statsticial information (age, gender, location) that can be used in selling advertising to their online service. The Ledger, which has not required online registration to this point, announced that it would begin doing so in June.

Some publishers don't like the idea of free access to their publications' stories online, as they fear it would erode their paid subscription base. Some have already begun:

--- The Wall Street Journal charges $79 annually to access all of it's online services; $39 if they are already subscribers to the print edition.

--- Approximately 40 dailes, most small publications, also charge a fee to access it's online stories. A number of others charge for access to certain areas of their sites or for extra services.

--- The New York Times has been considering such a move for some time, and will announce it's plans toward that in January. It already charges for online access to it's crossword puzzle, news alerts, and archives.

--- A number of newspapers online charge a fee per story of page to access stories in it's archive.

Enjoy it while you can, 'cause you'll be paying for the privilege sooner than you think.

1 Comments:

Blogger tommy said...

I'm not sure it will fly. Stories important or interesting enough will be cut and pasted on blogs or run by other news outlets. I'm sure some will pay for the service, but more will drop delivery of the paper versions. There will have to be changes, but I really don't think paying for online content will be the answer. It's been free for too long.

12:20 PM  

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