by Mike Masnick
Tue, Feb 1st 2011 10:11pm
We keep hearing from legacy newspaper folks how "news can't be free," as they look to set up paywalls and other such barriers to folks actually participating in the news process. And yet, as has been discussed time and time again, for most people the news was already effectively free. Subscription fees rarely (if ever) covered distribution and printing costs. The real money has always been in advertising. As if to make the point even stronger, it appears that the UK's free newspaper, the Metro, is doing phenomenally well, even as other newspapers struggle. The Metro has found its niche and they've taken to it. And it's not just about the "free" part of the newspaper. As the report notes, as the readership of the newspapers themselves have gone up (often during the daily commute), so too has the readership on the news organization's website. Apparently people are reading the news on paper while commuting, then once they get to the office, they are logging into the website to comment or share the stories with others. It's a lot tougher to do that with a paywall...
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