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Will you pay for News24 premium content?

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South Africa's largest news website, Naspers/Media24 owned News24 recently announced that they will be adopting a paywall on some of their articles with a monthly fee of R75 to read those "locked" articles. 


A broken business model

The news environment over the last decade has changed dramatically, and we haven't yet reached the plateau where the business model that underpins independent journalism is stable enough to ensure longevity and sustainability. Newspapers, the traditional bastion of the free press, have been forced to rethink and redesign their whole operation, necessitated by the loss of advertising income and shrinking circulation.


Up until then news outlets' main source of revenue was advertising, with copy sales providing a healthy secondary stream. But with advertising evaporating and circulation in terminal decline, it led to a wholesale crisis in the print news business, with revenue tanking and the downsizing and restructuring of newsrooms becoming a regular seasonal event.

- News24 on announcing their subscription service

This will open an interesting paradigm, News24 is South Africa's largest news website, and while Media24 have already done it on their Afrikaans websites, it remains to be seen how effective it will be on the more popular English News24 website.

What do you think, will you pay to read News24? And how do you think this will impact the online business landscape in SA, will more sites adopt it, but more importantly will it help normalise paying for content in SA?

Community liaison. 
It ain't much but it's honest work.

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I personally will not be paying for the simple fact that I don't think it is worth paying for. I was surprised at their statement of extensive investment in journalists as most of their articles are so bland that I thought it was just syndicated wire copy. I went through some of the articles that was locked after the announcement and there is nothing that I would pay to read, some was real nonsense like Zuma's finance minister and his damaged G-Class (the perks of public office I tell you) there was some other content that I just Googled and found a free article. I have also noted a problematic pro-government slant in news24 articles, their fawning of the weak and ineffective Ramaphosa.

I would pay for real investigative journalism, that being said, investigative journalism by its very nature benefits more from being free so as to reach as many as possible.

So no, I will not pay. I think people are willing to pay for content that is exceptional and can not be procured somewhere else, or as in the case of financial news procured the fastest. news24 is fits neither description. 

“One of the great mistakes is to judge policies and programs by their intentions rather than their results.” - Milton Friedman

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