ARTICLE: Optimism on paywalls in local newspapers

Local newspapers have also started to apply digital paywalls around the world. The latest study in Norway, including 20 local newspapers, provide some optimism on paywall’s potential contribution to the funding of local journalism.

Decreasing readership and advertising revenues have challenged the whole local newspaper business. This has also threatened the civic well being of local communities. Putting up digital paywalls has been one of the new business strategies by the newspapers, but so far the studies have been focused only on large newspaper outlets.

Ragnhild Kristine Olsen and Mona Kristin Solvoll  from BI Norwegian Business School made interviews with 20 local newspapers in Norway and their findings suggest that paywalls represent two different strategies: a brake strategy and an acceleration strategy. The authors conclude that “the paywall played an important role in a complex balancing act whereby local newspapers combine a defensive brake strategy in the user market and a forward leaning acceleration strategy in the advertising market”.

The article “Reinventing the business model for local newspapers by building walls” was published in Journal of Media Business Studies and is available on the publisher’s website (abstract free).

Picture: Norway by Patrick Nouhailler, license CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

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