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Dallas Morning News considers instituting Pay Wall, Charge for Online Content

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By Joanna Cattanach – Editor

The Dallas Morning News will start charging for a portion of online content including reports by paid staff writers as well as Dallas Cowboys news. The new charge-to-view (or block if you don’t pay) format will begin within the next six months reports News and Tech. The good news is seven-day-a week subscribers will be allowed to view all of the online content for free.  The bad news is to become a subscriber you need to pay anywhere from $33 – $37 a month, some of the highest circulation rates in the country according to News and Tech.

In a recent Nielsen poll, consumers said they would like free content to remain free but would be willing to pay for some online content including content they generally pay for anyway: movies, music, games and current television shows. Consumers were less likely to pay for “homegrown content” including blogs, podcasts, and social communities. Although those polled said they would consider paying for radio, magazine or newspaper content, “much of their content has basically become a commodity, readily available elsewhere for free.” In addition, those who said they’d be willing to pay believe online content must exceed what is currently available online for free. However, the Dallas Morning News is hardly the first paper to try a pay wall (the Wall Street Journal has one in place and The New York Times is instituting one soon) and if it works locally, expect other media sources to follow. But as one blogger pointed out, “This, of course, is the deepest flaw in any online-subscription theory: that equivalent coverage is available for free, a click or two away.”

The problem with the pay wall is that it only takes one blogger (or Google or CNN etc.) to pay for content and disseminate to the masses. And if that blogger is reputable, which is, you don’t need to pay for the content. And I don’t have to plagarize or violate copyright laws. I’m simply attributing to the source and making it easier for you! Yes, bring on this pay wall model. As a local blogger/writer, it’s the best way to drive readers my way. Because as a “home grown” site, all of my content is online and that’s the only place you can find it. does offer “between the lines” content including (see above) links to helpful information like Nielsen polls. If this model works, expect newspapers to net some profits, yes, but the readers thrown away will simply be soaked up by other sources. And I want one of those sources to be me! Thanks, DMN. will remain free. Tell your friends.

Categories: Media
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