Woo Hee Chang believes she has the solution to a troubling paradox at the heart of the online news industry. As journalist Tyler Falk discusses in an article (in French) for business and technology website, smartplanet.fr, media businesses want their content to go viral and, of course, they want to monetise it, but more and more have made their content largely inaccessible by putting up paywalls. Some choose to keep a minority of their articles freely accessible, whilst others choose to provide a title and short summary for every article.
But blocking content to non-paying customers, seen now as a financial necessity for many newspapers such as the New York Times, can lead to the "stagnation" of a newspaper's readership. When a paper starts charging for content, many potential new readers steer clear, especially in the case of a brand new publication which has no established reputation or faithful readership willing to pay for continued access to trusted content. This paywall strategy constitutes a "wall" in the very literal sense of the word – it erects a barrier between the newspaper and its potential audience.