The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Thursday, February 03, 2005

Why news has to be free - probably

Some time ago, the New York Times was talking about charging for online. Now, the CSM has a piece under hed All the news that's fit to be given away considering how long we'll be prepared to pay anything for news in any format.

The numbers don't stack up for general interest news pay-sites: the Times (from memory) was talking about $10-15 a month. If the Times charges, the Post surely will (though I recall a webchat in the last couple of days in which a Postman said the site would be free for the foreseeable future - or words to that effect.)

Thirty bucks a month is more than a lot of folks pay for their internet connection - and that's just to get access to two news sites out of hundreds of thousands worldwide.

With a few exceptions (porn, music - but only to an extent), net usage is perfectly elastic: a single cent in charges, and we go elsewhere. Which is partly security issues, but mostly the variety of stuff available.

If every news site in the world charged ten bucks a month - I'd just dump my interest in news - except to the limited extent it can be satisfied on network TV.

Ten bucks a month to subscribe to all news outlets - now you'd be talking. And pigs would be flying.

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