Let’s Talk More About Paid Content!

The paid content conversation rages on. One suspects that at some point before the end of this year the financial situation of newspapers may be so dire that readers will be faced with the choice of paying for content or relying on TMZ.com for their news. Until that fateful days arrives here’s the where the conversation currently stands:

  • Jack Shafer says the key is to figure out what customers will pay for: “Not all successful paid sites are alike, but they all share at least one of these attributes: 1) They are so amazing as to be irreplaceable. 2) They are beautifully designed and executed and extremely easy to use. 3) They are stupendously authoritative.”
  • Howie Kurtz says it’s going to be a battle of hearts and minds as much as wallets: “It was arguably a mistake for newspapers and magazines to hand out their goodies to anyone with a computer screen, but the culture of the Net was — and is — that everything should be free. The question now is whether that mind-set can be changed.

  • And then there is this from a Google senior vice president “in an e-mail he says was originally for internal consumption”: “‘We won’t (and shouldn’t) try to stop the faceless scribes of drivel, but we can move them to the back row of the arena.’ At the same time: ‘We need to make it easier for the experts, journalists, and editors that we actually trust to publish their work under an authorship model that is authenticated and extensible, and then to monetize in a meaningful way.'”