In a result that should surprise all of nobody, when the New York Times introduced a paywall to their news site, the obvious happened: they lost over ten percent of their visitor share. Predictably, now that the genie of free news is out of the bottle, people are not very willing to pay for their news. So, if advertising cannot generate enough money and if there is a sizable number of consumers who will not pay for news, does this mean the journalism industry will perish?
No, of course not. While this model will not likely work, the growing adoption of mobile technology is promising. People are willing to toss 99 cents at an app that makes fart noises. If they’ll pay that much for that, why not an issue of a magazine for 99 cents with ads inside? Will this make as much money as papers are used to? No. But it will turn a profit. It is time to abandon the notion of old profits and embrace the reality of modern sustainability. The only question is how many more bankruptcies it will take before lessons are learned.