Paid is the new ‘Free’? Take The Poll

There’s been a flurry of articles recently about the web’s inevitable march towards a model for paid – not free – content.  There seems to be no other subject other than the Growth of Twitter that merits the same coverage day after day.

With Newspapers and Magazines in the crosshairs, losing money hand over fist as they follow the pied pipers of give it away free and you’ll make it up in volume, the intensity of this debate is increasing:  Should users pay for access to newspaper and magazine content on the web?

There are basically three camps:  Gated Content and a two-tier model the Micropayments camp and then here is also the ‘Free Camp’.  Breaking from urgent Twitter coverage, Techcrunch has also weighed in, in response to a story in the UK Guardian.  It appears that an utterance by Rupert Murdoch got this latest cheek-chewing started.  Apparently newspapers can’t make money online, but PriceWaterhouseCoopers can make money talking about how papers can’t make money.  That’s ironic.

I have no doubt that within the next 6 months, as the print advertisement economy continues to erode, we will see publishers adopt new models for audience monetization.  I favor friction-free interstitial registration, with email followup and audience measurement.  Publishers have little to lose…especially since they have already been losing money.  Display, as it stands today, doesn’t seem to be able to support them.  How much can you make on $.25 remnant CPMs?

Which model do you think will win this battle?  Gated Content for Subscribers and Non-Subscribers, Micropayments, or Continued Free Access to All Content?  Take the poll!