Monday, January 12, 2009

The future ain't free

David is right, for better or worse. (It's better, I think.) Even at the regional news outlets like mine, we'll eventually have to move toward a partial-pay model of some sort. It wouldn't surprise me if we eventually have at least four levels of news access:

1. Some base-level content remains free and available to anyone online, at least partially as a marketing tool designed to drive readers to the pay products
2. Full or "premium" subscribers receive access to everything in print and online
3. An online-only subscription available for people who do not want the dead-tree product on their porch
4. An a la carte option for one-time users or people for whom the free news is generally enough

This kind of a structure, combined with some advertising, could start to resemble a business model. Someday.

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