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#FICCIFrames 2016: How media companies look at monetizing the Internet

At a panel discussion in FICCI Frames 2016, journalists, editors and new media heads discussed a wide range of issues which affect the media including the credibility of news organizations, how the online medium has changed news gathering, native advertising etc. You know, topics that are the usual suspects in such discussions.

However, there is one topic which always looms at such events: How do media companies plan to make money on the Internet? And do paywalls work?

Here are some of the interesting quotes which emerged from the discussion.

anant goenkaAnant Goenka, head of new media at Indian Express 

Four years back, I had said that Indian Express website would be the first Indian news website which would go behind a paywall. I take all of that back. There is no way that would work in the Indian context. If there is one group of people who would pay for the news online, it would be the NRIs.

siddharth varadarajanSiddharth Varadrajan, Editor and founder of The Wire

I agree on paywalls. In a country where you can get a printed newspaper for about Rs 5-6 that makes no sense. A reader will make about 50% of what he spent on newspapers in raddi (scrap papers) every month, there’s no incentive to pay for online news at a much higher price.

ravi agrawalRavi Agrawal, New Delhi bureau chief, CNN International 

In the United States, CNN does not have to resort to a paywall for the website. As I’ve said, the bulk of our revenue comes from cable subscription fees. In the US, a basic cable package costs about $100. Over here, a basic cable package costs about $5.

Azhar IqubalAzhar Iqubal, co-founder of Inshorts

Inshorts currently does not make any money. We’re right now working only of venture capital money. There’s no particular revenue model… Right now, our main focus is trying to get eye balls on Inshorts and make sure people read our summaries as they don’t have time.

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