Balancing the Free with the Purchased

Maurice Levy, the head of marketing group Publicis, strikes me as making sense when it comes to the newspaper pay-wall debate. Unlike Rupert Murdoch (see earlier posts), Levy is far more nuanced about the balance that will be needed probably between free and paid content — that is if newspapers are going to attract traffic and not put off readers while at the same time making some money.

Speaking to MediaGuardian at the start of the inaugural Abu Dhabi media summit, Levy, stressed that it is “not enough to have a big audience on the internet”, with media companies needing to find a mix between free and paid-for online content to survive in the digital era.

“The future of analogue media will not be supported by advertising alone. They will have to have profitable access to the internet. It’s not enough to have a big audience on the internet,” he said.

“Content has value and that’s something for which I have a strong point of view. I think media giving away their content is not a good service to themselves. It’s a shame, a pity. This content has a lot of value and it has to be valued reasonably,” he said.

The key will be to have some content that is free, but other elements only available for subscribers.