Father reading the print edition of a news journal has been a scene we have often seen in real life and in movies. Yet thanks to current technologies, this scene might soon come to an end.
The digital revolution has impacted every aspect of our life and almost every domain. In the publishing and broadcasting in particular, digitisation has changed the way we create, consume and share information.
The mobile trigger
The adoption of mobile technologies, such as tablets and smartphones, has enabled faster and more convenient access and sharing of information than ever before. While this meant more traffic to a newspaper’s website it has also impacted the print edition, explaining why publications have recorded a dramatic fall in the number of print sales.
Due to the current financial plummet, the digital era has also necessitated publishers to adapt digital monetisation strategies in order to increase their revenue. One of the most well known strategies is the paywall.
Meet the paywall
The earliest pioneer of paywall solutions in the publishing industry was The Wall Street Journal. Their type of paywall was inflexible, not allowing access to readers unwilling to pay for content. This was the hard paywall. This paywall strategy has been successful for B2B news publishers, such as the FT, and other niche products with a specialised readership demographic.
The new digitisation wave soon impacted the development of paywalls themselves. The hard paywall was emulated unsuccessfully by a wave of B2C publishers, leading to the development of more porous, soft/metered paywalls.
While a hard paywall only allows you to access its content after you have paid for it, a porous, soft/metered paywall will give you the opportunity to read a certain number of articles in a defined period of time. Only after you have had a full demonstration of the experience are you asked to pay. The number of articles viewed by the reader can vary from one publisher to another. An example of metered/soft paywalls can be seen at the New York Times, which allows you to read 10 articles/month before asking you to pay.
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