Jeff Kidd wrote an insightful article exploring new payment models for the news industry.
Some newspapers have installed hard paywalls on their sites, requiring users to pay a fee the first time they attempt to view a story or other piece of content. Others, such as The Island Packet and The Beaufort Gazette, have adopted metered access, in which a subscription after a pre-determined threshold of page views is reached.
Less prevalent — but perhaps more intriguing — is “a la carte” journalism, in which readers pay a fee per story (or photo gallery or video) viewed, rather than a blanket subscription that applies whether they read 12 stories or 12,000. To put this in terms of online music, one might think of subscriptions as a Spotify model for content and a la carte as the iTunes model.
And CrowdNe.ws figures prominently in Kidd’s discussion.
There are a couple of other interesting statements Kidd makes that I address in this next post:
A la carte pricing might also radically alter readers’ habits.
Just as iTunes was no friend to album sales or deep cuts, per-article news sales might spell the end of dry-but-important dispatches from the City Council Finance Committee. Just as conceivably, readers might reach the point of diminishing returns on celebrity news much faster if they have to pay for every click in a paparazzi gallery.
Kidd's full article is available at News websites begin to tinker with per-click, iTunes-style story access.