You’ve heard all the arguments about why publishers are starting to charge for content online. And this has provoked a number of pretty negative reactions.
The most obvious is that because we’ve run out of options and the old business model is no longer working, we’ve got to ask you to pay and why should you?
It’s quite likely you’ll go to another site, which is still free. Some of you may even hope that our attempt to charge for content will fail. After all, it doesn’t take much to work out that BD is a tiny part of a huge PLC. So we must have been leant on by the bean-counters, right?
Well, right up to a point. Except there’s no accountant type telling us what to do. It was our decision to gate our premium content but keep news free. And I’ll try and explain why.
It was my hunch that a five-bar gate with barbed wire would drive you elsewhere, and we don’t want that.
Having built up a large and loyal online readership, we want to keep you. So news – which is the best-read part of BD’s site – is free as are video and newsletters.
But to be completely free is no longer an option for us, and I’ll come on to why that is.
The trouble is that there are hundreds and thousands of web sites out there, but how long does it take you to find the content you want, and is it any good?
While publishing companies moan about the cost of the technology, what they don’t talk about is the cost of the journalism that’s needed to keep feeding a website like ours, which is producing exclusive content.
So the gate that some of you might hit today is there because we want to keep you coming back to BD now – and also on whatever sophisticated technology comes along in the future.
We’re not under any illusions of the size of this challenge, but it’s because we value our readers that from today we also have to put a value on what we do too.
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