Think bigger than micropayments
Though media has many different channels, journalists are especially concerned with funding online news right now. I had a thought that stemmed from the micropayment theories floating around the web, and it incorporates necessary qualities that I talked about earlier (identifying the audience, establishing a relationship, and serving their needs).
We could create a platform that links all news sites that wish to participate, forming something like a “society” of newspapers. Net surfers would register with an email address, and the platform would provide a monthly allowance of free page views that could be used to visit any news sites that opt to be a part of the platform. If and when the allowance has been used, the net surfers who want to continue using the platform could purchase another web page allowance or they could purchase access to a specific news site directly through the site they want to use. The platform would direct payments back to the news sites on a per-click basis when additional page allowances are purchased and used.
Another alternative is a time-based allowance, but that would get annoying rather quickly.
For a plan like this to be successful, news organizations must target a specific audience and tailor the information provided to meet their needs and wants. The media that survive will be those that offer unique yet valuable information.
A plan like this would also promote an increase in multimedia production and availability by increasing competition among news companies participating in the “society.”
What do you think? Could a plan like this rescue the media?
EDIT: Based on some comments, I came up with a few more thoughts on a network of media sources.
1- Users could add and rank their favourite sources on a personalized home page for easy access and quick updates on top headlines.
2- The home page could offer several tabs: one listing the network-wide favourite sources, another listing the most read (or top rated?) articles in the last 24 hours, another with the most popular videos, a live feed of newest headlines, and so on.
3- All sources could be searched, and thus, categorized. This also leaves the option to allow users to link to their own stories (or videos!) so that they can be rated by the public.