The New York times has finally begun constructing its new Internet paywall, starting in Canada. J-Source asks: will others follow? The move, announced almost a year ago, has been declared a disaster by some, an inevitability by others. An earlier NewsCorp paywall experiment drove away 90 per cent of its online readers. The paywall marks a second attempt for the Times, which – along with the Wall Street Journal – removed its last paywall in 2007. However, a January 2011 experiment involving U.S. publications with paid online content found readership held steady, perhaps providing confidence to give it another try. Meanwhile, the industry’s free-Internet advocates are exploring ways to eliminate the need for paywalls.

The New York times has finally begun constructing its new Internet paywall, starting in Canada. J-Source asks: will others follow? The move, announced almost a year ago, has been declared a disaster by some, an inevitability by others. An earlier NewsCorp paywall experiment drove away 90 per cent of its online readers. The paywall marks a second attempt for the Times, which – along with the Wall Street Journal – removed its last paywall in 2007. However, a January 2011 experiment involving U.S. publications with paid online content found readership held steady, perhaps providing confidence to give it another try. Meanwhile, the industry’s free-Internet advocates are exploring ways to eliminate the need for paywalls.

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Patricia W. Elliott is a magazine journalist and assistant professor at the School of Journalism, University of Regina. You can visit her at patriciaelliott.ca.