Monday, January 25, 2016

The Netflix effect: Why do we pay for TV but not for newspapers?

Consumer pressure is moving TV from a free-to-view, ad-funded model to subscription services like Netflix.

Consumer pressure is moving newspapers from a paid-for model towards a free-to-view ad-funded model like the Guardian. Why?

I suggest it's because the newspapers don't have one, all-you-can-eat service like Netflix has for TV. They are still fighting each other rather than the common foe. The common foe is not  other newspapers. It's everything else that attracts a reader's eyeballs.

Here in the UK, I don't want to shelter behind the Times' paywall because, unfortunately for Rupert, I don't value the Times that much and it doesn't have all my favourite columnists. I have yet to become a £5-a-month donor to the Guardian for much the same reasons.

Newspapers should stop fighting each other and shelter together behind a common paywall. My one subscription should buy me access to the whole shelf. That way, the Guardian reader who secretly likes Boris Johnson would be able to indulge. He may even prefer the Telegraph's cricket coverage. Or he might like to read all the cricket journalists, just to check he hasn't missed a single description of a despondent Aussie.

A besandalled Jeremy by day, our treacherous reader might harbour a secret nighttime lust for the Sun's Jane Moore and the FT's Gillian Tett, one after the other. He might be, in short, eclectic, thoughtful, independent, and a lover of good writing.

The money would go into a central pot and be allocated to individual papers on a per-click basis. That way, a columnist would earn her corn not by marrying the proprietor but by writing well. Radical.

Which would be really nice, and would save our beloved British press from their whole lemmings-cliffs/Charge-of-the-Light-Brigade/We're-doomed!-Doomed-I-tell-you! thing.

1 comment:

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