This is actually kind of a sore spot, so I thought that I would touch upon it. The New York Times recently announced that they were going to start charging for content in 2011.
Strangely enough, most people who grew up in the Internet age seem to think that everything, including premium content, should be free of charge. I personally don’t believe that’s the case, and would even go so far to say that having an economy based on content generated at the expense of advertising dollars is an extremely bad thing. But at the end of the day, it always amazes me how little people are willing to pay for online content.
Most people I know spend $2 – $5 at Starbucks (or some equivalent) each day. So we obviously think coffee is worth $2/day. Yet when it comes to anti-war sentiments or well-informed research pieces on the economy, most of us aren’t willing to pay that amount. Does that reflect on the lack of value of the people paying or the lack of value in the content being produced?
So the question I pose to people is this. Is content worth paying for? If so, what would separate paid content from unpaid content? If not, where do you think the money should come from to fund the research for some articles, or the travel involved?