Monday, 5 July 2010

Clay Shirky: Times paywall numbers don't add up

New media consultant Clay Shirky in the Guardian today: "Everyone's waiting to see what will happen with the paywall – it's the big question. But I think it will underperform. On a purely financial calculation, I don't think the numbers add up.
"Here's what worries me about the paywall. When we talk about newspapers, we talk about them being critical for informing the public; we never say they're critical for informing their customers. We assume that the value of the news ramifies outwards from the readership to society as a whole. OK, I buy that. But what Murdoch is signing up to do is to prevent that value from escaping. He wants to only inform his customers, he doesn't want his stories to be shared and circulated widely. In fact, his ability to charge for the paywall is going to come down to his ability to lock the public out of the conversation convened by the Times."

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