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If you had to pay for your news …

by Greg Krehbiel on 16 March 2017

The discussion on ad blockers got me wondering — if the ad-supported model completely fell apart, and websites all started charging for content, which websites would I be willing to pay for?

(I realize this is an over-simplification. Websites have many more revenue opportunities than simply ads or paid subscriptions.)

The thing is, most of the sites I rely on for news don’t create any news. They just link to (or comment on) news from other sites. In an exclusively paid subscription world, those sites would disappear. (And that might be a good thing.)

For example, what good would Drudge be if every time you clicked on a link you hit a paywall?

I started to think about middle of the road news sources (maybe The Christian Science Monitor?) but … if I want to be honest with myself, I really prefer news that comes from a conservative (aka sane) perspective. So I’d probably go with The Washington Times.

2017-03-16  »  Greg Krehbiel

Talkback x 7

  1. William
    16 March 2017 @ 12:18 pm

    If they had to depend on me to pay, I’m afraid they’d go out of business. Yet, if there was no other choice, it would only be one and it would have to be highly reliable. Since I’d be a paying customer, would it be fair to request they minimize any spin on their reporting?

  2. Ken Crawford
    16 March 2017 @ 12:29 pm

    I’m not so sure the middle-man sites would go away. More likely they would start charging their customers and then enter into agreements with the source news organizations to pay for portions of their content.

    Said another way, think of Drudge as a Netflix for news.

  3. Robin R.
    16 March 2017 @ 2:27 pm

    I probably wouldn’t pay.

  4. Dave Krehbiel Dave Krehbiel
    16 March 2017 @ 8:17 pm

    If I had to pay for something, I would probably start with YouTube red.

  5. sm
    16 March 2017 @ 9:05 pm

    I would probably start with my local newspaper and depend on them for wire service news.

  6. pentamom
    20 March 2017 @ 10:18 am

    Your last sentence made me think that if this happened, it would simply multiply the polarization of the news. Nobody’s going to pay for access to a site they find dubious or worse. So they won’t be exposed to that point of view, at all.

  7. Greg Krehbiel Greg Krehbiel
    20 March 2017 @ 12:30 pm

    @Pentamom, I think that is very likely.

    The good news is that I have presented a false dilemma. There are other monetization models that sites can use. It’s not a choice between ad supported or a hard paywall.