Paying for the media’s online information is inevitable

Yes, it is coming. You can bet your last tweet that the media will find ways to charge for the information they place online.

Editor and Publisher is reporting that more than 170 daily newspapers have enlisted Journalism Online, “the company that plans to help publishers monetize content,” in their latest effort to charge for information that they are now offering for free.

“Publishing affiliates will be able to select their own pay models. Journalism Online is offering a variety of ways to do that including technology that allows for micropayments, sampling, the ability to turn off the system at will, and the ability to convert users from micropayments to a subscription model,” writes Jennifer Saba of E&P.

The media have to do something. Just review the wreckage of the nation’s newspapers to appreciate the urgent need most media face. Many in the industry realize they must require payment for the expensive practice of providing professionaly gathered and presented information. Consider the ongoing debate with those interesting and powerful news aggregators. (See this post.)

PaidContent blogger Arnon Mishkin writes that news aggregators are “scraping” value away from the media. “The vast majority of the value gets captured by aggregators linking and scraping rather than by the news organizations that get linked and scraped.”

Convincing consumers to pay for information they are currently getting for free is difficult, especially in a struggling economy. Perhaps Journalism Online has the answer to this bottom line question: Would you pay to read your favorite media online?

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