Will bloggers profit if newspapers charge?
The New York Times is going to start charging for access. They seem to have settled on a "metered" system, in which folks will get to read a couple of articles each month for free, but have to purchase unlimited access. This is how the Financial Times works, and also, some porn sites (or so I've been told). Which is not to say it isn't a good model!
I'd guess -- and this is based on no inside information whatsoever -- that it will be much easier for The Washington Post, The L.A. Times and other major papers to go behind some sort of pay wall if the New York Times leaps first. At this point, newspapers are desperate enough for long-term revenue that they're probably willing to sacrifice short-term positioning. And if The New York Times goes, then a bunch of others go. The Times has the influence and readership to establish a new norm -- and this is a norm that papers want established.
But what to do about blogs? Already, much of what blogs do is summarize, quote or otherwise relay information that's tucked inside a long newspaper story that busy readers don't have time to find or read. This will increase that market: A blogger with a few subscriptions can distill the information from the newspapers that readers don't have subscriptions to. Bloggers move from providing more efficient information to offering access to information. A black market for news, in a sense.
Newspaper revenue might go up under this strategy, but so, I'd guess, will the relative market share of big blogs that are good at aggregation. Newspapers could try to sue them, but that will be difficult if the blogs are careful, and it could be counterproductive for newspapers that want to have influence.
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