In accordance with 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 pay for online news, 9 out of 10 said ‘No!’ ;.Does that imply that Murdoch’s decision to charge users to access his news sites is foolish?
I wouldn’t pay for news, either, unless…
If I were asked ‘could you ever pay for online news?’, I may possibly say ‘no’, too. All things considered, in an age when 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 for their content?
However, I would, and often do, pay for quality and ‘luxury’ news. I would not pay a cent for among the shrinking number of free newspapers handed out on my way to work in a day, but I would pay for a Sunday broadsheet with all its extras and trimmings (even though the odds of me actually reading greater than a few pages are extremely small).
I have already been proven to join a paid members’ area on the website 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 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 using its site. The Times? Maybe, but as long as other quality news outlets starting charging, otherwise I’d just choose the free one.
Utilizing a Credit Card for a 20p Article?
I’m uncertain how much Mr Murdoch desires to charge his users to see an article, but I’m guessing there is going to be some sort of account that needs setting up. I certainly couldn’t be bothered to have my wallet out every time I needed to see something and I will be very hesitant to commit to subscribing.
On one other hand, if they’d the same system to iTunes, whereby you simply enter your password to get access to a paid article and your card is billed accordingly, that might make a bit more sense. But, if I’d to do that for every single major news provider, it would become very tiresome.
Ultimately, they are often shooting themselves in the foot for some extent. If the site makes it harder and less convenient for me to see an article, I’ll probably go elsewhere. I would think that I Naijanews would always be able to read the news headlines free of charge on the BBC’s website, which will not be good news for the advertising revenue of the Murdoch online empire.
Assuming that I just wanted to see an article on a paid site so badly that I handed over my bank card details in their mind, what would stop me ‘reporting’ about what this article said on my freely available blog? I would imagine it will be quite difficult for a newspaper group to avoid a large number of bloggers disseminating the information freely for their users who’d gain plenty 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 information highly enough to deem it worth paying for. The jury is unquestionably still on the entire concept and the odds are that many will attempt and fail before a profitable system is developed. Until then, we’ll have to attend and see.