Drawbridges . . . Up
In just a few weeks, some of my favorite “free” content . . . won’t be.
That includes mainstream publications like The New York Times, but also specialty online newsletters like “Breakfast with Dave,” authored by Gluskin Sheff chief economist David Rosenberg.
Even The New Yorker, which is busily promoting its iPad app, quietly omits the fact that you’ll have to pay exactly the same price for the electronic version ($5) that you do for the print — even if you already subscribe to the print version!
What’s going on?
I think some online content providers are gambling that, now that they have survived the shakeout, it’s time to cash in.
Others may simply be acknowledging that online advertising doesn’t pay the freight — subscriptions do.
Either way, the drawbridges are effectively being raised, tolls installed, and avid online readers such as myself presented with a stark choice:
Pay up for a select few online brands; or, prepare to ditch them in search of equivalent but still-free content.
“Subscribers Logon Here”
Fair is fair, but I think the online content providers would be well-advised to share some of the cost savings of delivering their product online, with effectively no distribution costs.
That’s especially the case if, in addition to charging a toll, they also subject readers to ever-more and more intrusive online ads.
Instead, Web content providers appear to be doing just the opposite: charging online readers full freight, even if they already subscribe to the print version.