Paywalls sound like a great idea. They just don’t work.
[S]ince its launch in December 2009, the [Irish] News’s site has secured just 1,215 paid subscriptions: 525 weekly, 370 monthly and 320 yearly.
In other words, whatever positive gloss one tries to put on those figures, they are pretty pathetic. They are minuscule when compared to the print sales, representing a tiny fraction of the paper’s total readership.
Nor has this been a short-run experiment. Early in 2009, the News was charging £65 a year for access to its site and Doran admitted then: “We don’t have a huge number of subscribers.”
He explained that there was too little online advertising in the paper’s circulation area to fund a site that gave away content for free.
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