In accordance with a recent 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 purchase online news, 9 out of 10 said ‘No!’ ;.Does that show that Murdoch’s decision to charge users to gain access to his news sites is foolish?
I wouldn’t purchase news, either, unless…
If I were asked ‘can you ever purchase online news?’, I could possibly say ‘no’, too. After all, within an age once we can usually find out about major events on Twitter before any of the news channels report them, why would we ever want purchase access with their content?
However, I’d, and often do, purchase quality and ‘luxury’ news. I would never pay a penny for one of the shrinking quantity of free newspapers given out on my way to work in a day Nigerian Newspapers, but I’d purchase a Sunday broadsheet with all its extras and trimmings (even although chances of me actually reading higher than a few pages are incredibly small).
I’ve been proven to join a settled members’ area on the internet site of a particular football team (which shall remain nameless) to get access to extra content not available 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 just about 2 paragraphs in each image-dominated article anyway. It only costs a few pennies to buy genuine so there wouldn’t be much value in using its site. The Times? Maybe, but as long as all the quality news outlets starting charging, otherwise I’d just go for the free one.
Using a Credit Card for a 20p Article?
I’m uncertain how much Mr Murdoch wants to charge his users to see a write-up, but I’m guessing there will be some sort of account that requires setting up. I certainly couldn’t be bothered to obtain my wallet out everytime I wanted to see something and I would be very hesitant to commit to subscribing.
On the other hand, if they had the same system to iTunes, whereby you merely enter your password to get access to a settled article and your card is billed accordingly, which may make a little more sense. But, if I had to achieve that for every major news provider, it would become very tiresome.
Ultimately, they are often shooting themselves in the foot to some extent. If the site helps it be harder and less convenient for me personally to see a write-up, I’ll probably go elsewhere. I’d believe that I’d always manage to read the news headlines free of charge on the BBC’s website, which may not be good news for the advertising revenue of the Murdoch online empire.
Let’s assume that I actually wanted to see a write-up on a settled site so badly that I handed over my charge card details to them, what would stop me ‘reporting’ on what the content said on my freely available blog? I’d imagine it would be quite difficult for a newspaper group to prevent thousands of bloggers disseminating the information freely with their users who would gain lots 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 unquestionably still on the whole concept and the chances are that numerous will try and fail before a profitable system is developed. Until then, we’ll have to hold back and see.