Visual Encyclopedia

Paywall

Restricting access to Internet content via a paid subscription is often called a paywall. Three high level models of paywall have emerged: hard paywalls that allow no free content and prompt the user straight away to pay in order to read, listen or watch the content, soft paywalls that allow some free content, such as an abstract or summary, and metered paywalls that allow a set number of free articles that a reader can access over a specific period of time, allow more flexibility in what users can view without subscribing. Newspapers started implementing paywalls on their websites in the mid-2010s to increase their revenue, which had been diminishing due to a decline in paid print readership and advertising revenue. Academic papers are often subject to a paywall, and available typically to researchers via academic libraries that subscribe.

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As newspaper companies decide whether their online sites have paywalls or don't have paywalls, changes in revenues indicate which have been the most successful. Conclusion? Doesn't seem to matter either way. So how do newspapers decide then if it doesn't matter?

Contributed by Sammo Lea

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