With media companies thinning out their newsrooms, struggling to stem revenue losses and worrying about the plausibility of subsisting on dwindling ad revenue online, there’s been a lot of talk over the past few months about charging for content.
The free versus paid debate was at the forefront of discussion on the first day of ad:tech in New York this week. Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO of WPP, showed his cards early in the day, opening the event with a talk where he put his money with Rupert Murdoch when it comes to making customers pay for media content online:
“In order to make traditional models viable… you have to plumb where people are willing to pay for content.”
Sorrell seems bullish on consumers paying varying rates for content of varying quality, and despite predicting a winnowing of content suppliers online, is confident that media brands will need to charge to sustain the quality of their content. It’s a theory that found root later in the day as well.