In the US, an undergraduate education used to be an option, one way to get into the middle class. Now it’s a hostage situation, required to avoid falling out of it. And if some of the hostages having trouble coming up with the ransom conclude that our current system is a completely terrible idea, then learning will come unbundled from the pursuit of a degree just as as songs came unbundled from CDs.
Newspapers have two principal sources of revenue, readers and advertisers, and they can operate at mass or niche scale for each of those groups. A metro-area daily paper is a mass product for customers (many readers buy the paper) and for advertisers (many readers see their ads.) Newsletters and small-circulation magazines, by contrast, serve niche readers, and therefore niche advertisers — Fire Chief, Mother Earth News. (Some newsletters get by with no advertising at all, as with Cooks’ Illustrated, where part of what the user pays for is freedom from ads, or rather freedom from a publisher beholden to advertisers.)
Paywalls were an attempt to preserve the old mass+mass model after a transition to digital distribution. With so few readers willing to pay, and therefore so few readers to advertise to, paywalls instead turned newspapers into a niche+niche business. What the article threshold creates is an odd hybrid — a mass market for advertising, but a niche market for users.Clay Shirky on the economics of newspaper paywalls and why article thresholds seem to be the way of the future.
posted by storybored
on Jan 10, 2012 -
A great Rant About Women by Clay Shirky: (Women) "are bad at behaving like self-promoting narcissists, anti-social obsessives, or pompous blowhards, even a little bit, even temporarily, even when it would be in their best interests to do so."[more inside]
posted by bru
on Jan 16, 2010 -
Scott McCloud and Clay Shirky are trading ideas on Micropayemnts again.
Clay Says user-pays schemes can't simply be restored through minor tinkering with payment systems, because they don't address the cause of that change -- a huge increase the power and reach of the individual creator..
Scott Says micropayments, well, BitPass are here to stay this time. As a content producer I like the idea, but as a content consumer I'm just not sure yet. If mefi went Micro, would you pay?
posted by Blake
on Sep 13, 2003 -