Quality has its price

The introduction of online paywalls has far-reaching implications for the media landscape

Many publishers are still deep in shock. In 2009, newspaper publishers in the USA saw a 25 per cent drop in sales. In all industrialised countries, a manifest media crisis is setting in. There is no reversal of this trend on the horizon in the print sector. Undoubtedly, the cause of the global newspaper crisis, which has brought even the New York Times to the financial brink, is the internet. The only question is whether a way out of the crisis will be found despite the internet boom, or because of it. One could subscribe to the commonly voiced reasoning that every digital commodity always becomes available for free somewhere at some time. This would mean that companies today – and particularly media companies – have no option but to provide their content free of charge and to earn their money elsewhere. But this notion discloses not only a fatalistic perspective: it is also simply not true. Furthermore, the opposite is the case. Here, cause and effect are being confused and an enormous opportunity is being missed.

Andreas Priefler

As head of global communications for Wintershall Group, Dr Andreas Priefler leads all communications sectors internally and externally, comprising media, issues, brand and reputation management, sponsoring. and political affairs. Before joining Wintershall he held leadership positions in fields, such as life science, energy, chemistry and media.