I no longer live in Carlow but I like to keep up to date on local news. Both local papers have websites that do just that. www.carlowpeople.ie and www.carlow-nationalist.ie are updated weekly with the stories that were reported in the printed version. Today I logged onto the Carlow People website only to be told that I need to pay a regular subscription or a pay per view fee to read the full articles.
The Carlow People is one of many regional and national newspapers ran by Independent News and Media. The Evening Herald and The Irish Independent are the larger papers owned by Independent News and Media. Currently only regional newspapers require payment for online content.
The debate about paying for online versions of newspapers has been dominated by larger newspapers. Sales of printed newspapers have dropped sharply. Visitors to newspaper websites have increased just as sharply. So it is understandable that there is a push to monetise this change in the source of the audience. Charging for content is a far cry from the “free” Internet business model companies such as Google have pioneered. Are readers willing to pay to read a journalist on a national newspaper website?
More importantly for us in Carlow, are we willing to pay to read The Local Notes online. Personally I am not. For now I will continue to read The Carlow Nationalist online. Although it may be only a matter of time before their owners, Thomas Crosbie Holdings, decide to charge for online content. This will lead to a decrease in traffic to The Carlow People website and therefore an decrease in advertising revenue. However, can they make more money from subscriptions than they did from advertising? It remains to be seen.
I think I will just get my folks to store up copies of The Carlow People for me to read when I travel home! We are running a poll on The Monte Carlow Facebook page (bottom left), have your say.