But some are not eager to talk about the subject of newspapers. At Wired‘s Disruptive by Design conference here this week, Chris Anderson, prophet of free and a Wired editor, said, when asked, “the bane of my existence this year will be the question about whether newspapers should be free or not.”
He added that rather than choosing between free and paid, the industry will offer some pieces for free and others for more in a freemium model that’s increasingly popular in the tech industry.
He said that sites cannot charge for exclusives, as that content will be replicated elsewhere, and that sites should not charge for their most popular content, because that content can be supported by ads. Instead, the “long tail” guru said that newspapers should be able to charge for niche content.
“A specific business interest or community will pay for content and will be almost price insensitive in an inversion of the old blockbuster model,” he said.
“The smaller the niche, the better,” he added.