Two weeks ago when the SFN blog examined the National Readership Survey (NRS)’s report on print and online news consumption, we suggested that encouraging digital figures for quality titles could be of great interest to advertisers. Looking at the same figures, The Guardian’s Investigations Executive Editor, David Leigh, had an altogether more radical idea: a £2 pound levy on broadband services.
Thanks to the BBC’s free-to-access, taxpayer-funded news website, British news consumers will always have access to reliable, up-to-date news reports. This, Leigh argues, means that the paywall model will “never really work in the UK context.”
The noted investigative journalist reasons, in an article posted to MediaGuardian, that the simplest and most effective means of solving the financial dilemma faced by British news publishers is a “small levy on UK broadband providers [that] could be distributed to news providers in proportion to their UK online readership.” Brits are not particularly inclined to pay for online news, Leigh continues, but almost 20 million UK households are, and will continue to be, willing to pay for essential broadband subscriptions.