Is this the turning of the content tide? For months now we’ve been looking forward to seeing Steve Brill’s model for regulating content with his new company JournalismOnline, which will be using a platform called Press+ to standardize pay walls for websites. We have yet to see JO work in practice, but other media companies are already jumping on the Press+ bandwagon, most recently the York Daily Record in Pennsylvania and the Enterprise-Record in California, which should be ready for the content provider come April or May, and be the first sites to test the new system. Both papers are owned by MediaNews Group, one of the largest newspaper holders in the country.
MediaNews is also dipping its foot into the pay wall business, with the company’s content director Howard Saltz telling Poynter that they will be looking towards The Financial Times as a trademark on how pay walls can be enforced without losing readers. “I am right now guaranteeing everyone that we will put content behind the wall and we’re going to grow traffic,” Saltz was quoted in the piece. That’s a tall order: you need to look no further than Newsday‘s recent experiment with pay walls to see that keeping up your traffic when you start charging for content (let alone growing it), is not an easy task.