The challenges publishers face in the digital age haven’t gone away. The initial conundrum over how to monetize web-based content has intensified as the programmatic landscape becomes more sophisticated, but also tainted by fraud. In the early days, legacy magazines and newspapers tried to replace dwindling print subscription revenue with paywalls. But paywalls and digital subscriptions, conventional wisdom goes, are an affront to the free flow of information for which everybody loved the Internet to begin with.
Within the digital-first business model that has been taken on by nearly all publications that aren’t, for instance, high-end fashion or architecture magazines, clicks are king. But what keeps consumers from clicking through to content – money, or some other obstacle?