Inside Story

Current affairs & culture from Australia and beyond

143 words


Paywalls: the good news and the gamble

2 November 2011

The Australian’s online paywall is up and running. The New York Times has announced strong subscriber figures. Peter Clarke discusses the prospects for paid content with Gordon Crovitz, Sophie Black and Jason Wilson


Stephen Rees/Flickr

Stephen Rees/Flickr

With the Australian’s online paywall up and running, Peter Clarke talks to the former publisher of the Wall Street Journal, Gordon Crovitz, Crikey editor Sophie Black and the University of Canberra’s Jason Wilson about the Australian’s experiment, the success of the New York Times’s “porous paywall,” and the broader challenge of persuading readers to pay for online content.


Gordon Crovitz, Co-Founder of Press+

A longer version of the interview with Mr Crovitz is available here

Sophie Black, Editor of Crikey

Jason Wilson, Assistant Professor in Journalism at the University of Canberra

And former CEO of the Financial Review Group, Michael Gill, responds to this discussion for Inside Story


The Australian’s paywall explained

The New York Times paywall: How it works

September 2011 online subscriber figures for the New York Times

Show Comments


brooke watson

15 November 2011

Pay-for-use spells the end of infomercials, shock jocks, and regurgitation hacks, and the beginning of consumer-led demand for genuine journalism.

I am a committed reader of premium journalism and I am happy to pay for quality opinion, analysis, and news, but not for the sort of dogma-based writing which is entrenched in press driven by advertisers.

I expect my services to declare their interests up-front; if I don't know who is paying the bills, then I will not subscribe.

jeff flanagan

3 November 2011

I look at many English language newspapers, some daily, some weekly.

AlaskaDN, Guardian Weekly, Lithgow Mercury, NZ Herald,Turkish Daily,Halifax Herald,Nova Scotia News, Toronto Globe, Japan Times, Irish Independent, SMH, to name a few, and my favourite The Australian.

I accepted The Australian offer to sign up for three months free access to their full news service.

I find the lumpy hesitation and delays between news pages extremely frustrating. Logged in, remember me, or not, the hesitation is the same.

None of the other publications have this frustrating delay. None of them charge for service.

If The Australian doesn't sort this by the end of November; SMH here I come.

Lev Lafayette

3 November 2011

I wish they'd put the Herald-Sun and the Daily Telegraph behind a paywall as well...

Andrew Smith

3 November 2011

Agree Jeff Flanagan, and I would add The Economist and Aljazeera as excellent free international media online.

Further, why would one pay a subscription but then not be afforded the courtesy of having reasonable and fair comments published (unless they support the generally partisan social conservative and political campaigning views)?

Send us a comment

We welcome contributions about the issues covered in articles in Inside Story. We ask contributors to provide their full name for publication, but if for any reason you need to use a pseudonym please submit your comment to us via email. Because all comments are moderated, they will not appear immediately. Your email address is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *

Thanks for commenting.

If your comment is approved, it will appear here in the next few days.

Read next

2079 words

Books & Arts

Caught on a fast-moving train

13 September 2013

Journalism is increasingly becoming a matter of selecting from an avalanche of material, writes Scott Bridges


Multiple, fast-moving flows of information. Catherine Benson/Reuters

Multiple, fast-moving flows of information. Catherine Benson/Reuters