On the payment of news

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Good Old Trend

Through Per-Åke I find a really interesting article written by Jeff Sonderman. You should definitely read all of it, but the key paragraph is this one:

“Consumers couldn’t care less how much it costs to produce a product, be it news, clothing or cars. They don’t inspect your production facility and balance sheets to determine whether the price is fair.”

Absolutely correct, and valid in every way. I could rant about journalism as non-profit, public service and all of that. I won’t as Sonderman says it better himself, only more succinct.

However.

I question whether this means that journalism can’t be funded through consumer payment. I’m not talking about projects such as Spot.us, but about well designed and packaged (paid) services that enable and enhances the news experience. I haven’t seen any, although I assume there are a few.

If the perception that people were paying for content in their newspaper subscription was wrong (they paid for distribution), why are so many experimenting with the charging of online content rather than everything else attached to it?

Whether you can charge for online content or not is irrelevant. What is interesting and important to pursue is if journalism can be funded – in any way – from consumer payment.

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