I am not a fan – in any way, shape, or form – of paywalls. It seems to me like a “lose-win” situation. Worse, when you pay for a subscription on most of these publications that have them, you STILL have ads.
Instead, why not go “win-win”. One of the reasons (IMNSHO) that Netflix has been so successful is that you pay them, and you not only get programming, but programming without ads. They probably have to charge a bit (and I suspect not really that much more) to make up for the ads not being there. But a purchase there isn’t a grudging thing nearly as much as asking me to pay for something and then having you still “sell me” to your advertisers.
The Times, Wall Street Journal, and others could easily go with the Patreon model instead. You pay, you get no ads, and for higher levels you get access to special reports or member-only sections. Instead of paying to get a little more of the same, you’re paying to get better. Is it REALLY that hard to believe that they would get more subscriptions with such a model?
As far as Twitter goes, you don’t have a pay wall to deal with, but ads on the platform are incredibly easy to skip when your publication is composed of stories that are only a couple lines long anyway. Why not get rid of the underperforming ads completely, and give the patreons more features instead? Perhaps at the first level you just drop the ads, but the next level could let you go to 255 chars – still short but enough longer to clarify more. And the top level could let you be a “premier” poster.
Feel free to pass this genius idea along! 🙂