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Free is over

The Internet user is shifting consumption from free to paid.  

Paid is just way more convenient than free.  And the digital packaging is superior.  

Newspapers are finally profiting from paywalls. Legitimate music downloads and subscription services continue growing.  

YouTube users now expect a pre-roll, a blend of TV-like advertising with DVR capabilities.  Google’s content tags guarantee someone is getting paid for the impression.

The era of free is dying out to better paid alternatives.  It’s too burdensome to steal.  Money is going back to the artists.  

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Newspapers: Slow Delivery, Deep Analysis, Paid

The major newspapers rip blogs, calling them unprofessional and free for a reason. But they should know that information is free, like water. People won’t pay for it if they don’t have to.

Blogs report the news faster. The daily newspaper production is a pre-Internet cadence. Even when the major newspapers post the AP link, somebody out there in the blogosphere has written an informed article backed with facts and valuable opinion.

Today, blogs go deep in analysis while Twitter keeps us on our toes for breaking news. The main reason I read The New York Times, Financial Times, and The Economist is to see how the big guys analyze the buzz. Since the major papers ship once day, it can be a blessing that their writers have more time to cull facts and over analyze. As mentioned above, their challenge is to convince freeloaders that they offer more than what can be understood in a headline or 140 Twitter characters.

I hope newspapers survive. The writing and reporting is excellent. And they ship every day. Newspapers are also a fantastic source for aggregation. Sometimes I’ll miss my RSS and Twitter feeds and just catch up with the Times.

But the newspaper faces many challenges, most importantly the quality, brevity, and speed of the web.