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Content worth paying for?

In the past, I’ve been a bit critical of expecting people to pay for content they can already get for free. There needs to be a value the paid content provides that free content doesn’t.

I found this article by Information Architects particularly interesting…

I can’t see pay walls working out either. But we need to do something before we lose all of our current subscribers. Sure. It’s a tough business environment, but… But the flight industry is a tough environment too, and they found ways. So tell me: Why do people fly Business Class? In the end, an airplane brings me to the same place regardless of whether I fly Economy or Business Class and the massive price-increase I pay doesn’t compare the difference in value. People pay for Business Class because they don’t want to be tortured in Economy. They get faster lanes at the terror check. They get an extra glass of champagne. The stewards are more attentive. They get off the plane more quickly. They get the feeling of a higher social status.

Right now, the typical reading experience on the internet sucks. Ad cluttered sites are the norm. That’s why apps like Instapaper, Readability and Flipboard have flourished.

What if you didn’t pay for the content, but instead for the experience? What if free users saw the cluttered, ad-supported site, while paid users got a beautiful, distraction-free reading experience?

That’s the heart of Information Architects’ post. Go read it.