Based on a recently available study, we’re not overly impressed with Rupert Murdoch’s plans to charge for usage of his online news sites. Of 2,000 people asked if they would ever pay for online news, 9 out of 10 said ‘No!’ ;.Does that mean that Murdoch’s decision to charge users to gain access to his news sites is foolish?
I wouldn’t pay for news, either, unless…
If I were asked ‘would you ever pay for online news?’, I may possibly say ‘no’, too. After all, in a age once we can usually learn about major events on Twitter before any of the news channels report them, why would we ever want pay for access with their content?
However, I would, and often do, pay for quality and ‘luxury’ news. I would not pay a cent for among the shrinking quantity of free newspapers handed out on my method to work in a morning Nigerian Newspapers, but I would pay for a Sunday broadsheet with all its extras and trimmings (even though the odds of me actually reading more than a few pages are really small).
I’ve already been known to sign up to a paid members’ area on the internet site of a specific football team (which shall remain nameless) to access 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 see The Sun online? No. You can find usually only about 2 paragraphs in each image-dominated article anyway. It only costs several pennies to buy genuine so there wouldn’t be much value in which consists of site. The Times? Maybe, but only when all other quality news outlets starting charging, otherwise I’d just choose the free one.
Using a Credit Card for a 20p Article?
I’m not sure simply how much Mr Murdoch really wants to charge his users to see articles, but I’m guessing there will probably be some type of account that needs setting up. I certainly couldn’t be bothered to have my wallet out everytime I needed to see something and I will be very hesitant to commit to subscribing.
On one other hand, if they had the same system to iTunes, whereby you just enter your password to access a paid article and your card is billed accordingly, which may make much more sense. But, if I had to accomplish this for every major news provider, it would become very tiresome.
Ultimately, they may be shooting themselves in the foot with a extent. If your website causes it to be harder and less convenient for me personally to see articles, I’ll probably go elsewhere. I would believe that I would always manage 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 actually wanted to see articles on a paid site so badly that I handed over my charge card details in their mind, what might stop me ‘reporting’ on what the article said on my freely available blog? I would imagine it will be very hard for a newspaper group to stop 1000s of bloggers disseminating the info freely with 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 strategy used to charge and engage with users, let’s assume that the users value the information highly enough to deem it worth paying for. The jury is definitely still on the whole concept and the odds are that many will try and fail before a profitable system is developed. Until then, we’ll have to attend and see.