Online News – Last part within the Road Meant for Free News Online?
According to 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’d ever purchase online news, 9 out of 10 said ‘No!’ ;.Does that mean that Murdoch’s decision to charge users to access 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. In the end, within an age when we can usually find out about major events on Twitter before some of the news channels report them, why would we ever want purchase access with their content?
However, I would, and often do, purchase quality and ‘luxury’ news. I would not pay a penny for among the shrinking quantity of free newspapers passed out on my way to work in a morning Nigerian Newspapers, but I would purchase a Sunday broadsheet with all its extras and trimmings (even although odds of me actually reading more than a few pages are really small).
I’ve also been recognized to join a paid members’ area on the site of a certain football team (which shall remain nameless) to access extra content not available on the main 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 buy the genuine article so there wouldn’t be much value in using its site. The Times? Maybe, but only when 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 just how much Mr Murdoch wants to charge his users to read a write-up, but I’m guessing there is going to be some type of account that requires setting up. I certainly couldn’t be bothered to have my wallet out each time I wanted to read something and I could be very hesitant to commit to subscribing.
On another hand, if they’d 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 for some extent. If the site makes it harder and less convenient for me personally to read a write-up, I’ll probably go elsewhere. I would assume that I would always be able to read the news headlines for free on the BBC’s website, which would 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 paid site so badly that I handed over my bank card details for them, what might stop me ‘reporting’ about what the content said on my freely available blog? I would imagine it could be quite difficult for a newspaper group to avoid tens and thousands of bloggers disseminating the info 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 technique 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 certainly still on the whole concept and the chances are that many will endeavour and fail before a profitable system is developed. Until then, we’ll have to attend and see.