Washington Post PaywallPosted on December 07, 2012
The Washington Post deserves to get paid for their services and to be able to charge for their web properties. Creating a real new revenue stream via paid subscriptions online is the right thing to do now.
I will still subscribe to the paper, as old habits die hard, but will gladly pay a fee atop of the subscription to have real-time, always-on access to the content and the web services. The employees of the Washington Post deserve to have value placed on their work, and people paying for the services is appropriate and necessary. If they can’t charge for their online services, then they won’t be able to compete and they won’t be able to survive. And we all need a free and independent press, in every city and town.
I also have a few ideas for the Washington Post. Let me use my credit card – I am an American Express card holder – and allow me to use my member reward points to pay for a bundle of the newspaper and a bunch of online services and just keep hitting my rewards points account to pay for it. That is a great use of my member points, and would be easy and efficient. And painless economically.
And I would charge a subscription fee for the ability to comment on the message boards from people that don’t subscribe to the paper. Make people sign up, identify themselves and pay for the right to be a part of a community – to comment – and that would allow for the message boards to be monitored in a more vigilant manner by paid employees too.
Free services are great in some areas of the web, but professional journalism and web service execs need to generate revenues to pay the freight. Going to a subscription model and valuing the work will create a rocky transition, but a mandatory one, for all newspapers. It is time. Sign me up. I hope it works.