Newspaper paywalls on death row

Posted on by Mike Evans

I continue to struggle with the digital edition of The Times. I tend to read only the stories I am interested in (the alternative, reading everything, is supposed to broaden the mind). I find myself skipping whole sections and wondering why I should have to waste time flipping over pages like this. The main thing that keeps my attention is the minimal £2-a-week subscription which I have refused to increase. I figure they can have my £2 but request a penny more and I am off.

Joe Wickert, who keeps a close eye on digital publishing, believes that access to digital news sites should be free. Paywalls, he thinks, are doomed to failure. His two sons, in their twenties, do not buy newspapers and nor to they subscribe to newspaper sites. They are probably typical. For years, now, the internet has offered free news from many sources and it is impossible to put the genie back into the bottle. As Joe says:

what does the newspaper market look like in 5-10 years? They’ll still be clinging to the dwindling number of baby boomers who feel compelled to read the print edition. Meanwhile, the vast majority of the population will have moved on, satisfying their new craving with free, ad-supported alternatives.

I entirely agree with him on his. I am disillusioned with The Times, even at a miserable £2 a week, and I am unlikely to be enticed by more expensive offerings, whatever the brilliance of the iPad app.

UPDATE: The President of Equador is planning to ban the sale of all paper news. Now that should be interesting.

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