When the NY Times announced it was installing a complex paywall plan in April 2011, most internet mavens predicted failure. Conventional wisdom has long told us that information is supposed to be free on the internet – despite the fact that this argument leads to the logical conclusion that the internet is literally worthless. Brushing that aside, the NY Times hoped to gain 300k subscribers in its first year and show that there is indeed a value to quality information, possibly making it distinct from information as a commodity.
It worked. In the first three months the NY Times achieved 224k subscribers directly, plus decent income in other areas that were not part of the standard they were to be judged by. People will indeed pay for news on the internet.
The implications of this are potentially vast if we can learn from this experiment.