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Comments about ‘Is the era of free Internet content coming to a close?’

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Published: Thursday, July 25 2013 12:53 p.m. MDT

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Say No to BO
Mapleton, UT

One of the iron laws of information is that cheap information will always prevail over expensive information.
Expensive info that is biased and hyped will not prevail. Most media outlets will realize that paywall articles will sell about as well and paper copies. In other words, they will not survive on paid electronic subscriptions.

Hutterite
American Fork, UT

People will seek out free info.

Madden
Herriman, UT

The most popular sites will likely look to limit access to content in the future. ESPN does it by offering premium content and access to subscribers, while keeping base content free with traffic high. Eventually, more and more sites will follow this model, and more basic will be deemed premium. We need to accept that simply trying to make money through marketing and advertising on the site will be unsustainable, or at least revenue limiting.

On the flip side, the more we see popular sites doing this, the more it opens the door for new entrants to get a foot in the door, by starting out fully free and accessible, and spreading through social channels. Those investments will probably keep the pay-wall trend from moving too costly in the short term.

Aggie238
Logan, UT

As long as there is free content available, paywalls will backfire. This is especially true of news content, where several sources, both free and subscription based, can cover the same information with the same, or close to the same, degree of quality.

Brave Sir Robin
San Diego, CA

Today the barrier-to-entry for journalism is almost zero - that's a change from the old days. Back then you had to start a newspaper, radio station, or TV station - all of those options cost millions of dollars. Today all you need is a web domain, a computer, a digital voice recorder, and enough nerve to seek out the people you need to talk to.

Moral of the story: Anybody arrogant enough to think they can charge for internet content will find that there's somebody out there who can do a close enough job and will do it for free (or just ad revenue).

george of the jungle
goshen, UT

To be free you have to help others to be free.

Baron Scarpia
Logan, UT

The big mistake of early Internet news businesses was how they offered their products -- news, entertainment, games, etc. -- for free. Who profited from this? Google. Google organized and delivered the media content with ads to consumers, and ended up reaping the biggest profits from news media... and yet, Google doesn't have one reporter on its staff! Consequently, you had newspapers PAYING to generate news, but the vast majority of their potential profits went to Google and the search engine industry because they created a business model that newspapers couldn't recognize.

As the journalism industry has crashed -- even the Des News has endured massive layoffs of its professional reporters and many career advisers tell college students to avoid journalism as a major given that the prospects of news reporting looks bleak -- newspapers are waking up to the reality that they must "sell" their product to turn a profit.

Paywalls are just the first step. Ads preceding video news sequences is another income generator. The future will increasingly be that "free" news will be of lower quality/biased/lesser oversight with people seeking out the Wall Street Journal and other quality outlets for hard news.

Zadruga Guy
West Jordan, UT

For genealogy, there are many free sites, but the sites that charge for content are doing well nonetheless. So it is possible from free and pay sites to coexist.

I suspect that news sites will end up being similar. You will be able to get basic information for free, but if you want insightful analysis and in-depth details, you will have to pay. Which is fair, because adding depth and analysis is expensive.

Morgan Duel
Taylorsville, UT

Here we go as greed wins again. All the add pop ups and now a charge as well. The Internet is great but you will only hurt the poor with more cost. Oh wait the poor get free phones from tax money. That means the middle class gets hit again. The bums rich or poor get the information.

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