Inevitable payment

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Canadian newspapers are following in the footsteps of many of their international counterparts.

The three major newspapers in Canada, The Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star and the National Post, have or are planning to put up paywalls on their digital content.

From a business point of view, the paywalls are inevitable, even if many readers won’t be pleased with the pricetag. Subscriptions for print newspapers have been decreasing, leaving them scrambling to find alternative sources of revenue to sustain their content.

According to a 2011 article in Marketing magazine, many newspapers’ sales are declining in Canada.

With a print subscription costing just over $20 a month, The Globe and Mail is now trying to sell the same content online for effectively the same price.

We only have ourselves to blame — our generation has taken advantage of free information for too long without understanding the consequences.

There’s no way that newspapers can continue paying their journalists to produce high-quality content, especially in-depth investigative reports, without finding another source of revenue.

It’s also unlikely that the newspapers that put paywalls up will keep all of their readers, especially when many are unwilling to pay additional fees at all.

There are, of course, some readers who will be willing to give up the cash, but it’s unlikely that individuals will want to subscribe to more than one newspaper.

Newspapers will then have to compete more aggressively with one another to maintain their readership base.

This also means that readers will get a more biased perspective of the world. Readers, by not having access to multiple sources, will be less exposed to varied points of view.

It’s yet to be seen if this method will work. Hopefully, print sources will continue to innovate and find ways to profit from their content.

Paywalls are inevitable — we’ve been taking advantage of free high quality information for too long without giving print sources any viable source of income.

— Journal Editorial Board

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