Last July, all of News Corporations’ UK – News of the World, The Times and The Sun – have been put behind paywalls. Putting up a paywall means that in order to access a paper's content online, one will have to subscribe to it for a fee. The Wall Street Journal conducted such initiative about more then 10 years ago and the New York Timesestablished its new paywall since this year. Apart from online newspapers, a number of magazines such as the Economist and Harper’s have been doing this for a long time. Given the fact that one basic rule in the times of world wide web is to encourage to provide users with free information, it seems to be strange for those media conglomerates to disobey such rule and to put their online information behind the paywall. So the question is what are the advantages and disadvantages of such practice? In other words, this essay would examine what economic and social impacts the change would give rise to on the traditional way and whether these impacts are beneficial, harmful or still uncertain to judge. In the first part of the essay, the industry background would be introduced to show how newspaper industry were suffering from in the last few years and how internet affects the traditional way of reading news. Then, in the second part, some advantages and disadvantages concerning revenue issues, moral debate of journalism and isolation of the websites behindpaywall would be examined. The last couple of years have been difficult for the newspaper industry, at least for most of the western countries. Print newspaper circulation figures have been falling steadily for more than a few years, and so has newspaper ad revenue, as a direct result of this. According to the statistics, between 2005 and 2009 the average circulation in North America fell by 11% and in Europe by 8%. Between 2007 and 2009 newspaper revenues in France fell by 4%, in Germany by 10%, in Britain by 21% and in America by 30%. Some people would blame the loss simply on economic recession or the emergence of websites such as Craigslist, a network of classified-advertising websites that is mostly free to use. But the problem lies much deeper than that and the issues is with journalism itself, and how it fits into the world today, with information being so freely available on the Internet. Just as Isaacson, a former managing editor of TIME, rightly points out that there is a striking and somewhat odd fact about this crisis, with newspapers having more readers than ever but fewer of these consumers are paying. According to a Pew Research Center study in 2010, more people in the U.S. got their news online for free than paid for it. However, the rationale underlying the situation is simple: For consumers, why buy a hard copy of newspaper when you can read it online for free?
Newspapers have realised that this is an issue, and so one straightforward solution is to charge for access to newspapers online too, that is to establish a paywall, where you would pay for a digital copy of a newspaper, just as you'll pay for a hard copy. Newspapers adopting the initiatives range from world high profile ones such as The Times of London, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times to local ones such as the Boston Globe, The Newsday, the Valley Morning Star and etc.However news organizations have implemented such paywall systems in different gradation. For instance, the Times of London, a UK newspaper owned by News Corporation adopt a ‘hard’ paywall that visitors are not allowed to have access to any of the content without first paying; another way, which is adopted by the Wall Street Journal is to show some of the site for free and put more valuable contents behind a paywall; and the method adopted by the Financial Times and the New York Times is to introduce a metered system, which gives you a certain number of free stories in a given period of time, but after that you need to become a paid subscriber. Adopting such...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document