In recent months, many of the articles posted on the popular Herald Sun Footy Website have gone behind a pay-wall. While readers have been offered a free two-month trial, they will have to start paying if they wish to view footy articles written by the influential Herald Sun writers.
This is a relatively new phenomenon in the electronic age, whereby media owners are seeking to maximise their product for a profit.
The news, in this case sports news, is seen as a product delivered by journalists to us, the consumers.
This is the beginning of the end for the Herald Sun, for a few compelling reasons.
While at present the average punter enjoys the diverse and informative journalism provided by the footy writers from the Sun, it is quite a new concept from them to ask us to pay for it, particularly online.
For the price of a hard-copy most Melbournians will gladly pick up a paper for all it offers. But now they are being asked to cough up their hard-earned money for online versions.
While previously a link on Twitter, Facebook or email might prompt you to go and read the article, this changes when faced with a pay-wall.
I can see the interest waning rather quickly. I know for myself I have simply stopped looking.
As someone not based in Melbourne, I have enjoyed reading the comprehensive AFL coverage the Herald Sun provides. But not anymore.
Is there a new generation of footy followers coming through who will pay? I doubt it.
In fact I think the Y-generation is even less likely to pay for something online. The culture of the internet is that everything is free, unless it’s being delivered to your front door.
While there may be a short-term gain for the Herald Sun, I think the long-term effects on their influence are going to be profound.
We may see more and more people swap a hard copy of footy news for an electronic one on their laptop, tablet and phone.