Timing matters when you try to charge for news

Today I asked on Twitter:

If you were going to start charging for a free, ad-supported product, would you pick one of the nation’s worst economic times to start?

Well, would you? People are cutting back on spending right now. I don’t understand why now — besides desperation — makes sense for news orgs to erect paywalls.

Industries considered traditionally “recession proof” aren’t doing so well in this economic downturn. Even the venerable land line is being axed at many businesses. If an industry that hasn’t relied on advertising is feeling the heat right now, how do you honestly think a traditionally ad-supported product like news will do if news orgs try to charge for it?

There is only one way to find out, and it looks like we will later this year. Godspeed.