A student sent me a link to an interesting Wall Street Journal piece this week; wonderful, except that I hit a paywall after reading the first couple of pars. I didn’t pay to read on because:
1. It would have meant finding my wallet, getting my card out, and filling in lots of online. It was probably a micropayment, but it involved a macro-effort.
2. I feel slightly, and unjustifiably, indignant at being asked to pay to read news online.
Meanwhile the Times is clearly preparing for life without Google, as it blocks an aggregator in what has got to be the first of many such cases.
But all this paying and blocking seems out of kilter with the real digital world, in which some of the best things are increasingly free (at the point of delivery at least). The best snow coverage I read this week was on the BBC website; the best media-political analysis for Wales was at Wales Home and the most fun you can have with your clothes on this week is with this Swedish viral ad with a lovely DIY element in the tail.
None of that helps find the money that pays for content to be produced but it does suggest that, for some, any paywall is too high.