North Wind And Sun

Wall Street Journal considering micro-payments

Posted in journalism, newspapers by Ricardo Bilton on 11-May-2009

…but how much are people willing to pay for information?

The Financial Times reports that the Wall Street Journal is in the process of implementing a micro-payment system for its website, a move that raises questions about the direction that these companies are going.

Similar to what I talked about yesterday, the newspaper industry’s future really hinges on how much people are willing to pay for what they currently get for free. How much value do people attach to be informed? Information itself, I’d wager, doesn’t hold the same amount of value for many people as music and movies do, so it would be risky for the Wall Street Journal to expect many people to flock to their site once the new system is implemented.

That’s a key point here: None of these measures will create new readers. People tend to avoid paying for things. These payment systems, as a result, are aimed at the people who care most about the information they are receiving – professionals, academics, etc. The Wall Street Journal’s site is currently subscription-based, which likely explains why I, as a Poor College Student, have never read an article on it.

Times are hard. The newspaper folk are going to be hard-pressed to find people willing to pay for what the Huffington Post Offers and other online newssources don’t charge a penny for.

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One Response

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  1. Dan said, on 13-May-2009 at 2:28 pm

    Another bad idea – micropayments makes no sense for the newspapers. Can you imagine what this will mean for the type of articles they will publish? Here’s why:

    http://thedigitalists.com/2009/05/12/what-would-micropayments-mean-for-journalists/


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