The Nigerian media space has been slow to come to the conversation about paywalls and revenue. But these conversations are now happening as some newspapers think about the future.
Nigeria’s traditional print newspapers have all but faded from public consciousness. It is surprising for a sector that, globally, has at many times served as a public watchdog. From the start to the peak of their powers, Nigeria’s newspapers have always had a mission.
For Iwe Irohin, Nigeria’s first newspaper, it was to “engender the habit of seeking for information by reading.” Azikiwe’s West African Pilot railed against colonialism, much the same as Daily Times under Ernest Ikoli.
Guardian and TELL fought Nigeria’s many military rules. But it is not these sentiments alone that gave newspapers their relevance, it was the limited number of players in the newspaper space. Print media is an expensive venture with a high barrier to entry. Whoever could scale that cost would be one of the few newspaper advertisers could go to.
But the internet has since disrupted the Nigerian business landscape. Where news outlets with prohibitive costs of entry were once few, today, anyone can start a news business.