I think the interesting bit of the bloomberg article is,
"News Corp.’s Wall Street Journal dropped out of Google’s first click free program in February. After the newspaper ended the program, subscriptions ticked up, but traffic from Google fell off a cliff. The publisher told Bloomberg News that the policy “discriminated” against paid news sites. "
I don't work in this space but its amazing that that the first click free is such a big factor... the first click free must be tough especially for publishers that create premium content...I did a little searching around about what it entailed by 'revamping first click free' and could not find many details for it...I'm interested in seeing what they come up with as part of these changes...
Butting heads from two directions. First Click Free means g can show all and be source. Always a click for them. Subscription (no First Click Free) means only snippet at g and nothing for the subscription service if the user hits the back button. HOWEVER if publisher allows the First Click Free, that article is now readlost/gone by THAT user who may not be interested in anything else, hence no subscription.
I'm wondering what the "traffic from google fell off a cliff" actually means. Did g not send traffic, or did the user hit a paywall and went elsewhere? I suspect the latter.
News is a niche with way too many players, of all abilities and standards, and the user(s) have expectations that range from low to high and usually are satisfied by headlines and lede para. Tough niche!