The more pay walls that go up the more normal the structures will become and the more tolerant media consumers will become. But that doesn’t mean pay walls are the answer, just that they will become one of many answers for more and more publishers.
According to Editor & Publisher, McClatchy CEO Gary Pruitt is preparing to put one in place.
Pruitt said that McClatchy is “not ideological” about pay models and is willing to experiment — apparently, soon. He said McClatchy is going to try out a pay model on one of its newspaper Web sites, suggesting a visitor could hit a pay wall depending how far she navigates into the site.
Pruitt added that McClatchy tends to believe that the overwhelming model on the Internet is going to be ad-supported. “We feel the model isn’t broken,” he said, reiterating McClatchy’s online ad revenue results. “But we’ll learn from everything – we wish them all the luck. If someone cracks the code, we’ll copy it.”
In Q4, online ad revenue at McClatchy was up 14.9%, so you can see why Pruitt is bullish on online advertising.
I know I report on this topic a lot. It’s because I go over and over the paid content question in my mind. Ultimately, what publisher wouldn’t want paid subscribers? Paid subscribers validate the content offering and help make the media enterprise sustainable.