Today, we are staking out Wired magazine’s Disruptive By Design business conference. Wired editor-in-chief Chris Anderson (left) opened the day with a discussion about his upcoming book: “Free: The Future of a Radical Price,” and of course, he eventually started to talk about how the media has been affected by the rise of the Internet.
The Internet allows content to be published for little to no cost to the content provider, so the information can be provided for free. But what newspapers and magazines have failed to do so far is effectively monetize content provided online.
In his talk this morning, Anderson suggested that instead of looking at content as free versus paid, we should consider it as “freemium.” Following the model of The Wall Street Journal, newspapers can provide their exclusive stories and most popular content for free, while niche content can be placed behind a pay wall.
“People are more willing to pay for niche content because they realize how specialized it is,” Anderson said. Following this model, newspapers can hope to draw in readers who are not willing to pay for content and then convert some of them into paying consumers.
We caught up with Anderson to ask him if he saw his own magazine possibly taking on this model and what he sees as the future of newspapers and magazines.