I had the following article published at The Roar
In recent months many of the articles posted on the popular Herald Sun Footy Website have gone behind a pay-wall. While there is a two month trial, in most peoples minds this means we are going to have to start paying if we want to view Footy Articles written by the influential writers down at the Herald.
This is a relatively new phenomenon in the electronic age where media owners are seeking to maximise their product for profit. The news, in this case sports news, is seen as a product delivered by journalists to us the consumers.
In my view, this is the beginning of the end for the influence of the Herald Sun for a few compelling reasons. While at present the average punter enjoys the diverse and informative journalism provided by the Footy writers down at the Sun, it is quite a new concept to ask them to pay for it, particularly online. For the price of a hard copy most Melbournians will gladly pick up a paper for all it offers. But now they are being asked to cough up their hard earned for online versions. While previously a link on Twitter, Facebook or via email might prompt you to go and read the article, when faced with a pay-wall, I can see the interest waning rather quickly. I know for myself I have simply stopped looking.
As someone not based in Melbourne, I have enjoyed reading the comprehensive coverage of AFL that the Herald Sun provided. No more.
Is there a new generation of Footy followers coming through who will pay? I doubt it. In fact I think the Y-generation is even less likely to pay for something online. The culture of the Internet is that everything is free, unless its being delivered to your front door via Australia Post.
While there may be a short term game for The Herald Sun, I think the long term affects on their influence are going to be profound as more and more people swap a hard copy of footy news for an electronic one on their laptop, tablet and phone.
After thinking about this article, I had a further thought. Because the Herald Sun have started putting their wants above the consumers, the end result will be less consumers.