Arianna Huffington apparently doesn’t have much time for publishing leaders who advocate paywalls. At the American Association of Advertising Agencies Leadership/Media Conference in San Francisco this morning, she said, “We are in this brave new media world. This discussion of paywalls is to completely miss what has happened.”
In every survey you read, you have about 80% of consumers who say they don’t want to pay for news and opinion unless it’s very specialized news and opinion, like special financial information or very weird porn. Sure, free news content is not a perfect system. But as Churchill said about democracy, it is the worst form of government except for all the others that have been tried. The new paths to success are still all being charted, and much remains uncertain. But this much is clear. We can’t use an analog map and expect to find our way in a digital world.
As for how publishers should make money online, she had one word: Advertising.