Extra, extra, read all about it!

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by Bianca Bartolo

Print media is dead.  It’s a sentence that strikes fear into the heart of every journalist and the reason for that defensive, desperate tone edging into newsrooms everywhere.  Does the death of print mean we’ll have to pay for online content?  I hope not.

“It dies with me.” – Jean-Luc Godard

Godard said that the cinema died with him.  He was talking about the era of silent cinema, when going to the pictures was an event – the art of cinema.  What about the art of print?

The recent ousting of Vogue Editor-in-Chief Kirstie Clements has sent the fashion world into a scurry and has some questioning the future of glossy magazines.

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Vogue Australia circulates 51K print copies per month but their website gets 1.1 million visitors per month.  Online readers are increasing rapidly and print just can’t compete.

While I’m more than happy to pay $8.50 for my physical copy of Vogue, would I be prepared to pay for access to Vogue online?

Though I do enjoy the event galleries and unrivalled access to footage of runways around the globe that provides, it’s not the only place to get fashion content.  With the accession of multi-faceted (and free) media platforms like blogs, Twitter and Instagram, I’m spoilt for choice when it comes to free online fashion content.

The great debate rages over whether or not to charge users for access to online content – an issue news publications must face. The Herald Sun (News Limited) took the plunge earlier this year when they introduced a partial pay wall for online and mobile users, joining The Australian (News Limited) in adopting the controversial model.

It’s essentially a battle between old and new business models and the most important question is: Will readers pay for online content?

Managing Editor of Marketing Magazine, Sean Greaney, thinks pay walls have the potential to work if publications adopt a long-term strategy.  The Herald is doing this by segmenting their readers into three target publics: Current Readers, Migrators and Football Freaks Fans.

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Other digital publishers agree with Greaney, but I’m not so sure. Why would I pay for something I can get for free elsewhere?

Would you pay for online access to your favourite publication?


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