Just as some publishers are moving to a metered and other pay wall systems, many others — really, the vast majority — aren’t. Reason: All sorts of research shows people, by in large, won’t pay for content.
That’s no surprise. No one has ever paid for content. They’ve always paid for the convenience of getting their product to their door, whether via newspaper delivery boy or mail. That’s why asking whether someone would pay for content misses the point entirely.
The question should always be: are you willing to pay for the convenience of getting the information you want in whatever form you want it? That form can include mobile phones, tablets, laptops, print, electronic editions and whatever other form comes about.
Framing the question around the convenience of delivery would bring a much different answer. People are all about convenience; that’s why satellite and cable TV continue to do well in a time that no one really needs them. They bundle a large number of services and deliver it to you in a tidy package that’s easy to access.
Publishers should spend more time focusing on the convenience factor. Not only does it bring clarity to how they should position their product offering, but it also will help lead to decisions about what to include in their product bundle.