Paywalls: Maybe Not So Complicated After All

By: Ryan Chittum | Columbia Journalism Review

Clay Shirky, a leading paywall skeptic, deserves credit for grappling with what is now generally conceded to be the clear success of The New York Times’s digital pay model.

Shirky makes the counterintuitive argument that NYT’s success, coupled with the supposed failure of the Times of London own paywall, “are a blow to the idea that online news can be treated as a simple product for sale, as the physical newspaper was.”, He argues that the failure of the London paper’s rigid paywall (no free stories; readers have to pay to see anything) shows that selling online news is not a “simple product” transaction.

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