Will You Pay For Your Favorite Columnist?

from the not-this-again dept

As predicted, people are misinterpreting a new study about people paying for “content”. The study really shows that people will pay for some worthwhile services, but they’re really not that interested in content. However, the Boston Herald is starting a ridiculous experiment trying to charge readers $5/month to read their favorite columnist. Even the columnists hate the idea (read it while it’s still free…). Suddenly, they’re afraid that their column has very specific profit/loss requirements. Not enough people paying up to read your column? You’ll find yourself looking for a new job. As the one columnist warns, he’s switching from his usual business news to “firetrucks, guns and reality TV plus lots and lots of sex.” Online content providers are missing the point. The free nature of the internet gives them the ability to leverage their content and make money in other ways. Trying to charge will drastically reduce their page views (killing any hope they had of other business models) while not bringing in nearly enough revenue to seem worthwhile. Meanwhile, by charging for specific columnists only, they’re putting too much focus (and pressure) on one tiny aspect of the paper.

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