11 February 2009

Micropayments – Future Model For News?

Could an iTunes style payment system be the business model of the future for the newspapers of today?

An argument in favour of micropayments was recently put forward by Walter Isaacson, who believes that charging for content will be benefit both journalists and readers.

Writing in TIME magazine, the Aspen Institute president weighs up the pros and cons of revenue models such as advertising, online subscription and web-only output.

He notes: “The key to attracting online revenue, I think, is to come up with an iTunes-easy method of micropayment.”

In Isaacson’s vision this would take the form of “a one-click system with a really simple interface that will permit impulse purchases of a newspaper, magazine, article, blog or video for a penny, nickel, dime or whatever the creator chooses to charge”.

And his defence for charging for content in a world of free online news? It’s pretty simple really:

“Those who believe that all content should be free should reflect on who will open bureaus in Baghdad or be able to fly off as freelancers to report in Rwanda under such a system.”

In addition, the former managing editor of TIME suggests that paid-for content would actually improve the journalism produced.

“Charging for content forces discipline on journalists: they must produce things that people actually value.”

He concludes: “The need to be valued by readers - serving them first and foremost rather than relying solely on advertising revenue - will allow the media once again to set their compass true to what journalism should always be about.”


See Time.com for the full article: “How to save your newspaper”.

[HT - Lost Remote]

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