Slowly, but surely, we're seeing some regional newspapers try out a paywall. We've already seen Newsday, on Long Island, put up a paywall
, but it's more about reducing churn than actually getting people to pay (and early reports are that not many are paying). Now, as a bunch of readers sent in, Johnston Press, in the UK has announced a paywall as well
, asking £5 for three months of access (which certainly beats Newsday's ridiculous $5/week plan. I'm glad that some newspapers are actually trying this out, as it was getting a bit tiresome hearing them all threaten to do so without any actual action. Now we can actually see what happens. Of course, my opinion on the matter has been clear. I think it will be a lot more difficult to get people to pay than these publishers believe, and it will be a lot more expensive to manage than they believe. Also, the writers for the papers behind paywalls might not like
the fact that no one knows who they are any more. At the same time, it will only serve to open up the competitive market for others to come in at a better price point (i.e., "free") and scoop up a significant percentage of the advertisers who are seeking to reach a larger audience.