According to a current study, we’re not overly impressed with Rupert Murdoch’s plans to charge for use of his online news sites. Of 2,000 people asked if they would ever buy online news, 9 out of 10 said ‘No!’ ;.Does that signify Murdoch’s decision to charge users to access his news sites is foolish?
I wouldn’t buy news, either, unless…
If I were asked ‘could you ever buy online news?’, I may possibly say ‘no’, too. After all, within an age once we can usually read about major events on Twitter before the news channels report them, why would we ever want buy access to their content?
However, I’d, and often do, buy quality and ‘luxury’ news. I could not pay a dime for one of many shrinking amount of free newspapers given out on my solution to work in a morning Nigerian Newspapers, but I’d buy a Sunday broadsheet with all its extras and trimmings (even though the chances of me actually reading higher than a few pages are extremely small).
I have also been known to join a settled members’ area on the internet site of a certain football team (which shall remain nameless) to get access to extra content not on the key website: video interviews and press conferences, highlights of reserve and youth team matches, live radio commentary on match days.
Would I pay to read The Sun online? No. There are usually only about 2 paragraphs in each image-dominated article anyway. It only costs a few pennies to get genuine so there wouldn’t be much value in having its site. The Times? Maybe, but only when all other quality news outlets starting charging, otherwise I’d just go for the free one.
Utilizing a Credit Card for a 20p Article?
I’m not sure how much Mr Murdoch wants to charge his users to read a write-up, but I’m guessing there will probably be some type of account that needs setting up. I certainly couldn’t be bothered to obtain my wallet out each time I needed to read something and I would be very hesitant to commit to subscribing.
On another hand, if they’d a similar system to iTunes, whereby you simply enter your password to get access to a settled article and your card is billed accordingly, that may make a little more sense. But, if I had to do that for every major news provider, it would become very tiresome.
Ultimately, they could be shooting themselves in the foot for some extent. If the site causes it to be harder and less convenient for me personally to read a write-up, I’ll probably go elsewhere. I’d assume that I’d always be able to read the headlines for free on the BBC’s website, which may not be good news for the advertising revenue of the Murdoch online empire.
Assuming that I just wanted to read a write-up on a settled site so badly that I handed over my bank card details for them, what would stop me ‘reporting’ about what the article said on my freely available blog? I’d imagine it would be quite difficult for a newspaper group to stop tens and thousands of bloggers disseminating the information freely to their users who’d gain a lot of traffic in the process.
Recipe for Success?
The success or failure of paid news is in the method used to charge and engage with users, assuming that the users value the information highly enough to deem it worth paying for. The jury is certainly still on the entire concept and the chances are that numerous will endeavour and fail before a profitable system is developed. Until then, we’ll have to hold back and see.