Today the Globe and Mail announced that it will begin to charge for online content in the fall, following the lead of the New York Times. My gut reaction is to move on from the Globe and seek out my online news elsewhere. I, like so many others, have come to expect this – among so much else – for free.
I’m not sure that their solution is the right one to address the need to figure out a new business model to address the internet. Certainly they do need to do something, though. Reporters have to be paid. Otherwise, you end up with nothing but company-issued press releases making up the news. Already the lack of true investigative journalism has affected the quality of news we get and reporters and news outlets take short cuts just to get content out.
How do you manage the expectation of free on the internet? Look at what mobile phone apps have done to lower our expectation of what we are willing to pay for. We balk at paying $1.99 for an app when so may are $0.99 or free. As consumers, we are forcing organizations to race to the bottom competing on price, sacrificing whatever they can to get there. What they can sacrifice is quality.
What should the Globe do if nor charge for content?