Are we seeing the death of the paid content model?
There is chatter everywhere -- mostly speculative and unsourced -- about the Wall Street Journal potentially flipping WSJ.com to a free model, a possibility that Rupert Murdoch was described as calling "a wash" financially.
There is a report in the New York Post that TimesSelect is headed for the door. (Didn't they report the same thing a couple of weeks ago?)
And now Veronis Suhler is projecting that U.S. online advertising revenue will exceed the entire revenue base of the U.S. newspaper industry by 2011.
In the old world, where information was scarce, connectivity was scarce, and entertainment was limited, newspapers could charge for content. But for years the content pricing has eroded to nothing (25 cents for a newspaper ... get real), and newspaper pricing today is essentially about recouping some home delivery costs.
Applying that model to the Web never made sense.
But I'm not so sure about the WSJ. It's not only in a completely different market than mainstream/local newspapers, it's also paired with a sister website -- Marketwatch.com -- that has an open model.
Why not let the market decide?