As the newspaper world continues to crumble around itself it is amazing to read that a major provider of news thinks that its salvation lies in returning everything behind a paywall. Such is the case it would seem with the Associated Press whose CEO, Tom Curley, was quoted in a Business Week article as saying that this is something that has been talked about
“Can I imagine content going behind a pay wall?” asks Tom Curley, the CEO of the Associated Press. “Absolutely. And, yes, we are in conversations about that.” These conversations with other content players are informal, he admits.
As Jim Fine points out in the article though this idea doesn’t account for a few roadblocks that already exist
And a gazillion issues arise. One is that the Associated Press has a licensing agreement with Google (GOOG), the particulars of which Curley would not detail, that won’t expire until December. (A Google spokeswoman declined to comment.) It’s also unclear how this would work for a newspaper or a TV operation that does not want to wholly destroy existing traffic. And this solution may not be one-size-fits-all: The Wall Street Journal gets away with charging; The New York Times might; a less illustrious paper a tenth as big may not.
What the AP and everyone else advocating a return to paywalls is as I said before here – news is free, it’s the packaging that isn’t. Until all these antiquated news empires grasp the fundamental fact that they need to make what they do a value added service that people are willing to pay for then they can erect all the paywalls they want – and go broke in the process.