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Guardian CEO says charging for specialist content an option

The Guardian may still be considering a paywall, at least for specialist content:

[Chief Executive of Guardian Media Group Carolyn] McCall added that the Guardian, like the New York Times, had looked at six different pay models including a complete a complete “pay wall”. She said that introducing pay barriers would restrict the Guardian’s journalism.

I’m sure she didn’t quite mean it this way, but thinking about whether to implement a paywall from the perspective of it “restricting journalism” – which I take to mean “restricting the reach of the audience for journalism” – is a bit of a case of putting the cart before the horse.

Without a viable revenue stream, without a viable business model, there is no journalism. Everything else has to be secondary. If it isn’t, you don’t have real journalism – you have some kind of charity.

If introducing pay barriers “restricts journalism” but makes what you can do profitable, that’s a better option than trying to sustain a business which is consistently losing money. With the newspaper loses running at £100,000 per day, The Guardian is not in a position to reject business models on the basis of them “restricting journalism”.

(Image by Gigijin)

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