Based on a recently available 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’d ever buy 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 buy news, either, unless…
If I were asked ‘could you ever buy online news?’, I would probably say ‘no’, too. After all, in an age whenever we can usually find out about major events on Twitter before the news channels report them, why would we ever want buy access for their content?
However, I would, and often do, buy quality and ‘luxury’ news. I would never pay a cent for one of many shrinking amount of free newspapers passed out on my method to work in a day Nigerian Newspapers, but I would buy a Sunday broadsheet with all its extras and trimmings (even though the likelihood of me actually reading higher than a few pages are incredibly small).
I’ve been known to join a paid members’ area on the website of a particular football team (which shall remain nameless) to access 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 read The Sun online? No. You can find usually no more than 2 paragraphs in each image-dominated article anyway. It only costs several pennies to get the real thing so there wouldn’t be much value in which consists of site. The Times? Maybe, but as long as all the quality news outlets starting charging, otherwise I’d just select the free one.
Utilizing a Credit Card for a 20p Article?
I’m not sure just how much Mr Murdoch desires to charge his users to read an article, but I’m guessing there will be some sort of account that requires setting up. I certainly couldn’t be bothered to have my wallet out every time I needed to read something and I could be very hesitant to commit to subscribing.
On one other hand, if they’d the same system to iTunes, whereby you merely enter your password to access a paid article and your card is billed accordingly, which may make a bit more sense. But, if I’d to do that for each major news provider, it’d become very tiresome.
Ultimately, they may be shooting themselves in the foot to some extent. If the website helps it be harder and less convenient for me personally to read an article, I’ll probably go elsewhere. I would think that I would always manage to read the headlines free of charge on the BBC’s website, which may not be good news for the advertising revenue of the Murdoch online empire.
Assuming that I really wanted to read an article on a paid site so badly that I handed over my bank card details for them, what might stop me ‘reporting’ about what this article said on my freely available blog? I would imagine it could be quite difficult for a newspaper group to prevent tens and thousands of bloggers disseminating the information freely for their users who’d gain lots 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, assuming that the users value the content highly enough to deem it worth paying for. The jury is definitely still on the entire concept and the chances are that lots of will try and fail before a profitable system is developed. Until then, we’ll have to attend and see.