Thursday, November 26

Yes, I'd pay for news

SCOT McKNIGHT is asking if we'd be willing to pay a fee for access to news articles.

I would. Headline summaries aren't worth paying for but the more in depth content is.

The media companies, though, have not yet figured out how to price the content or how to collect for it in a reasonable and realistic manner.

Sometimes I'm referred to an article that the provider only makes available to subscribers. But I don't really want to subscribe to the whole package. So I leave without it. (Same reason I don't do cable TV -- I'd have to buy access to a lot of stuff I don't want but if I could choose and only pay for the channels I want, I'd do it.)

However, if there were a uniform way to do micropayments for something and then perhaps even a tip jar at the end, if I thought that article was really helpful or well done, I'd do it.

You're referred to an article. You read the first paragraph for free and decide whether to read the whole thing. If you want to continue you click a link at the end of the paragraph which automatically deducts an MCA point ($0.0125) from your Media Clearinghouse Account (which works on all news media sites) and sends you to the rest of the article. At the end of the article you're able to click another link to leave a point or two (or more!) tip of your choosing.

The media providers need to work together to come up with something like this -- a kind of uniform system of delivery and collection -- a Media Clearinghouse Account. Such a system might have room in it for freelancers who could then provide content directly to readers and earn a living doing so (cutting out one of the corporate middle men).

The challenge is that this would require the media companies to not only compete but to cooperate in their competition. Real estate agents do it with their multiple listing services. Automobile retailers do it when they join together in "auto malls." The media can figure out someway to do it, too -- and perhaps come out stronger than when they were solely relying on the sale of ink and paper products.
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