There are many more major news websites putting up paywalls these days, charging subscription fees to those who had been receiving that content free for years. We wanted to find out how widespread the shift from free to pay is on today’s Internet, and the result is this infographic that illustrates the extent of this phenomenon.
What did we find? Over the past couple of years, major news sites have been jumping on the paywall bandwagon, with more than 300 newspapers now charging for online content. That number has doubled in the past year, and continues its upward momentum.
Given the dire straits of local newspapers, their parent companies needed to supplant their dwindling income with revenue directly from readers. In the old days when paper dominated, newspapers could earn tidy sums selling advertising, particularly classified ads. That business is a mere shadow of its former self today, thanks to online ad juggernauts such as Craigslist and dwindling subscribers to print editions of newspapers.
But isn’t there a problem with traffic loss when a newspaper builds the paywall? As you’ll see in the infographic (presented by bestcollegesonline.org), some papers lost large percentages when switching over to paywalls — upwards of a third of their website traffic. Counterintuitively, others did much better. And, some sites have failed miserably when attempting to charge for their content.
Take a look at this exclusive infographic, and then tell us what you think of paywalls, paying for content, the state of newspapers in the U.S. today, and whether you think this phenomenon will continue on its upward trajectory on a long-term basis. Is the content worth the money?
Infographic courtesy bestcollegesonline.org