Pay Walls Aren’t A Silver Bullet

All the talk about newspapers and other publishers charging for digital content is growing ever more tiresome. We’re left breathlessly waiting for the implementation of pay walls, as if their success means salvation for the content industry. Only it doesn’t. If these publications can retain a substantial portion of their audience (a big if), it may mean some incremental revenue, but anyone who has ever modeled a subscription scenario knows that’s the best to hope for. Survival will depend on what it always has – connecting businesses with consumers. Whether transactional or branding, we call it advertising. The paywall discussion is one we need to have, but how to make advertising pay is the key question for online content.

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