Bitterwallet Friday poll - will you pay to read news online?
Aside from looking like a person that is being kept alive by science alone, Rupert Murdoch is a man who has made millions out of traditional media. The free-flow of information on the internet is perceived as a threat by Murdoch, and the Media Mogul (TM) has been chuntering about adding pay-walls to his newspaper websites for some time, meaning that content won't be accessible without paying a subscription. It's expected The Times will be the first to charge for online content from next Spring, to be followed by the likes of The Sun and the News of the World later in the year.
This isn't anything new; the NYT attempted it in 2007 - 200,000 subscribers paid for access to archives and columnists but the revenues were considered too small to be worthwhile. The two newspapers that have successfully operated pay-walls for years are the FT and the Wall Street Journal, but these provide specialist content for a readership that can actively profit from the news and information available. The Times, on the other hand, is a more generic offering providing the sort of content that is available in plenty of other outlets.
The problem that the press can't get their head around is the drop in readership that will undoubtedly follow; it's very likely that any major newspaper that charges for online content will see their traffic drop to barely a few per cent of the current numbers. Sustainable online news in the future is unlikely to be about generating massive readerships, as has been the case of printed news in the past.
So back to the question - would you pay a monthly (or annual) subscription to read newspaper content online? Vote and let us know what you think.