Do we have to pay?

One of the most controversial topics dealing with digital newspapers is whether readers should pay for reading an online edition. Most people are used to visit web pages that are free. But should not they pay when the printed edition is not free? Is not this an incongruity?

Free online newspapers are an important problem for businesses. If the journalist business does not receive incomes for the job produced, then, he depends on publicists. Thus, the role of defending the public interest becomes quite difficult.

In this sense, businessmen have tried to find a solution to get incomes from their readers. And there are different versions for the same situation.

To begin with, there is a model which is called ‘radical’. That is, to start to charge readers without warning them from one day to another. This is what happened with ‘The Times’, whose readers had to register and pay in order to be able to read the issue of the day.

Another solution that has been put into practise is the ‘meter model’. This means that you can only read some free news per day. Once you have visited the maximum of pages, you are charged with a sum of money.

Thirdly, there is the ‘double offer’ model. This implies that you need to sign in to read the digital edition but you can also subscribe to the printed edition. This means that you can combine two different subscriptions.

One model that has not been quite explained is the Slovakian one, or the  so called ‘PianoMedia’. With PianoMedia, you can subscribe (previous payment) to one platform in which many of the newspapers from Slovakia appear.

Finally, there are newspapers who have decided to have a ‘double model’ of their business, so that there is the free one (much more simple and without analysis or opinion) and another digital version in which you have to pay but is much more complete.

Perhaps it would be difficult to apply some models in Spanish newspapers, but it is as difficult as necessary. It is totally true that journalists need to see that their job is taken into account. Besides, we cannot forget that journalistic businesses do also need to get incomes to be able to work.

Àngels Mulet

Trainee student at Signe Words