John Paton says what most media CEOs won’t about paywalls — they are a short-term tactic at best

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Digital First Media CEO John Paton — who runs the second-largest newspaper chain in the U.S. — has made it clear in the past that he is not a fan of paywalls, so the news that he is rolling out metered subscription plans at about 75 of his company’s papers might seem a little surprising. But at least Paton is willing to admit something few other media executives have when put in a similar situation: namely, that paywalls are short-term tactic, rather than a long-term strategy.

In his usual fashion, Paton announced the paywall rollout by posting his thoughts about the move on his personal blog. He said that Digital First tried several other approaches to increasing revenue — including “hard” paywalls, which don’t provide any free content at all, as well as “survey walls” created in partnership with Google, which ask readers to fill out a questionnaire before…

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