Brazilian newspapers defend paywalls

While newspaper circulation drops in the United States and Europe, South America's publications are enjoying a boom in readership. Brazil's publications continue to grow, especially in a digital format thanks to cheaper Internet prices. Online advertising, however, remains stagnate and does not generate enough revenue to sustain the websites.

Representatives from the largest Brazilian media companies defended the search for new business models that depend less on advertising and more on new sources for financing at the National Association of Newspapers' National Circulation Week, reported Valor Online.

The Aug. 29 event in São Paulo addressed the challenges the media faces to stay profitable. Business leaders from several different media companies agreed that paywalls were inevitable across all markets, including the Brazilian one, Jornal de Commercio reported.

Marcello Moraes, CEO of Infoglobo, the company that publishes the newspaper O Globo, said the best way forward is to offer specialized content online that readers would be inclined to pay for and keep access to breaking news free. "Today, we're not in the world of 'or' but 'and.' Which is to say, digital and print media," Portal Imprensa cited Moraes as saying.

President of Grupo Lance! Walter de Mattos Júnior stated that a transition to a new business model was urgent, according to reports from Meio e Mensagem. "Everyday that we don't charge for our product we reinforce the idea that the news is free," he said.

The paywall model is gaining popularity in the United States. The Dallas Morning News and the New York Times already charge for their content. Recently, MediaNews Group, owner of 57 newspapers in 11 states, announced its plans to implement a paywall.

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