The Apple Blog just posted an interesting article about Wall Street Journal‘s (WSJ) upcoming iPad subscription cost:
Just when you thought the iPad might be able to breathe some life back into the failing print industry, the industry itself seems dead set on making sure that doesn’t happen.
Well said. There’s no WAY that I would pay that much for their content.
Let’s pretend for a minute that this wasn’t WSJ and was instead some great video game or Mac site, making this argument meaningful to me (no offense, WSJ). For a site to ask me to pay for their so-called premium content (that IS their argument here, isn’t it?), I’d have to consider their exclusive content so much better than what’s already freely available on the internet, that I’d be willing to pay for it.
Is that even possible? In today’s information age, can I fathom wanting to pay for text? I already pay for media (music and video games), but I consume so much free, readily-available text in the form of interesting web articles (<3 Instapaper) that I already can’t keep up with everything that I find interesting.
Let me restate that another way:
There’s more quality free content available to me than I have time to consume.
Without even considering the cost of said premium content, I’ve already got to commit myself to prioritizing it above the free content since I don’t want to waste my money. Regardless of just how good this premium content may be, the internet also provides a wealth of great reading. The TRUE draw of a premium subscription is the promise of no longer needing to sift through hundreds of RSS feeds to filter out the delicious bits of reading, but the drawback of a premium subscription is it’s homogeneous nature. The very benefit they offer is their weakness:
Filtered, editorialized access to the same information that’s already available to me on the internet.
Think about that for a minute.
Are you willing to pay $215.88 every year for that privilege? Do you trust WSJ’s editorial process enough to not filter out dissenting views?