This is the news. And it's going to cost you.

26 March 2010

Does anybody read newspapers anymore? Apart from when somebody's left one on a pub table, on the train or when they're given away for free? Newspapers have a problem - many were too slow to embrace the digital age, too scared to shift resource into online journalism, and now it's biting them hard on the arse. So what's the solution? Well, if you're a traditional media billionaire tycoon who's never used the internet unsupervised before, you start throwing up paywalls and cross your fingers.

Rupert Murdoch's News International has announced that both The Times and the Sunday Times will begin charging for content online in June. How much? £1 for a day's access and £2 for a week's subscription for access to websites for both papers. The weekly subscription will also include an e-paper and new mobile applications, and access to these new digital services will be free to customers subscribing to print versions of both the Times and the Sunday Times. It's expected that the Sun and the News Of The World will follow in quick succession.

Now maybe the Times isn't your cup of brew, and in fact you'll never entertain a single word written in the name of Murdoch's empire. But would you ever pay to read news content online? The commercial sector is banking on readers wanting more than the neutrality offered by the likes of the BBC. Are they right?

TOPICS:   UK News

24 comments

  • blah
    Don't you mean news not new's ?
  • Tom P.
    Can't see, the knuckle dragging, Sun & NOTW readers paying a subscription. Any chance of BitterWallet running a competition for 10 years FREE subscription or something for The Times and Sunday Times?
  • big d.
    why pay when you have bbc news for free
  • Fleet
    I would never pay for any of Murdoch's rags but I might for others. I still buy a paper newspaper so maybe I'm not typical
  • David L.
    News International have tried this with one of their US papers - they got 30 subscribers in 3 months.
  • kev
    for this to every work, it would have to be a colaborative effort by all the uk papers, so that there is little or no alternative
  • Adam
    Rupert Murdoch, what a cunt.
  • Jack T.
    @ Big Dave. The BBC is not free. We pay £3.5 BILLION a year to fund it. Unless you've stopped paying your licence fee tax. @Paul the BBC only has 'neutrality' if you are in the NuLabour fan club, believe in man made global warming and love EU.
  • Rob
    Don't they have advertisments on their sites? Works for most websites.
  • tommy
    I certainly wont be paying to read the news but whats this about the BBC being neutral???
  • philip f.
    a pound? It aint even got any birds with their tits out!
  • Ben T.
    I probably will end up paying as the market is moving towards self contained applications running on items like ipads. (Wait three years and this comment proves I'm a accurate or a wally). As I already subscribe to the times I'm not that concerned as I will get free access and it means that reading it on the ipad will be free for me. Now it would be a different decision if the Telegraph (no), Mail (no) or guardian (serious problem as I read their sport and media sections) were going to charge. The Sun is interesting as rumour has it access to the Sun and Screws will be free with a Sky subscription.
  • Inactive
    3D TV and subscription web pages, Murdoch has finally lost the plot.
  • Spark
    I only really use the BBC for UK news anyway as do most people I think so I can't honestly see this making a dent.
  • Al
    This shows how poorly Rupert is being advised. A small straw poll on this site has 90% of users saying they wouldn't pay, whilst I appreciate this probably not being a normal poll it won't be that far off the mark. Massively shooting themselves in the foot me thinks.
  • Fatal E.
    "I probably will end up paying as the market is moving towards self contained applications running on items like ipads. (Wait three years and this comment proves I’m a accurate or a wally)." The market isn't moving that way, Apple is. Gullable sheeple will move the way they are told by Murdoch / Apple, the rest of us will enjoy our free (as in free speech, not free beer) systems and free (In all respects) independant news.
  • Theo C.
    I suspect people's views may change if the Conservatives win the next election and bend us all over Murdoch's barrel by demanding the BBC scale back its online news content. Whatever your views on the BBC's political bias, it's degrees more neutral than Fox News.
  • Mo
    Agree with Theo the BBC I would gladly pay for, but none of Murdochs crap as they are all sensationalist papers that are worth nothing at all. even his Sky news they are crap they have so many breaking news yet most of the time they don't exist, they have no credibility. Murdochs empire targets those who are less intellectual in life.
  • zeddy
    I bought the paper edition of the Times until a few months back. I got fed up of tyheir total shit raking attempts at showing why the BBC needed reining back for them to take over (NI) in its place. What a bunch of cunts.
  • Roy
    Their circulation figures are rushing ever faster down the toilet so this is a valiant attempt to bring in a new income stream but doomed to fail unless all their closest peers join in (if they had any foresight they would but no doubt they'll be myopically happy to split their sides as their rival comes a cropper). As for the 'unrivalled' BBC news (unrivalled in liberal, tree-hugging bias perhaps), if they pay me I'll watch it, not before. As for the Guardian, it's lost 25% of its readers in the last 5 years and is down to just 300,000 - when its forest worth of public sector ads dry up, goodbye Pollyanna - you will not be missed.
  • shinkyshonky
    Sign of the times innit
  • CJN
    News from any source is not worth paying for.
  • zeddy
    @CJN: Yes. Wait till the stae provides your news needs, just like Nazi Germany, USSR, et al.
  • zeddy
    *state*

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