According to 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 would ever purchase 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 purchase news, either, unless…
If I were asked ‘could you ever purchase online news?’, I would probably say ‘no’, too. All things considered, within an age once we can usually learn about major events on Twitter before some of the news channels report them, why would we ever want purchase access to their content?
However, I would, and often do, purchase quality and ‘luxury’ news. I could not pay a cent for one of many shrinking number of free newspapers passed out on my method to work in a morning Nigerian Newspapers, but I would purchase a Sunday broadsheet with all its extras and trimmings (even though the likelihood of me actually reading greater than a few pages are really small).
I’ve already been proven to sign up to a paid members’ area on the website of a certain football team (which shall remain nameless) to gain 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 learn The Sun online? No. You will find usually no more than 2 paragraphs in each image-dominated article anyway. It only costs a couple of pennies to purchase the genuine article so there wouldn’t be much value in using its site. The Times? Maybe, but as long as 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 uncertain simply how much Mr Murdoch desires to charge his users to learn an article, but I’m guessing there will probably be some sort of account that really needs setting up. I certainly couldn’t be bothered to obtain my wallet out everytime I wanted to learn something and I would be very hesitant to commit to subscribing.
On the other hand, if they had a similar system to iTunes, whereby you just enter your password to gain access to a paid article and your card is billed accordingly, that will make a bit more sense. But, if I’d to accomplish this for each and every major news provider, it’d become very tiresome.
Ultimately, they are often shooting themselves in the foot with a extent. If the website causes it to be harder and less convenient for me to learn an article, I’ll probably go elsewhere. I would think that I would always have the ability to read the news for free 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 just wanted to learn an article on a paid site so badly that I handed over my bank card details for them, what can stop me ‘reporting’ about what this article said on my freely available blog? I would imagine it would be very hard for a newspaper group to stop tens and thousands of bloggers disseminating the info freely to 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 this content highly enough to deem it worth paying for. The jury is unquestionably still on the entire concept and the chances are that many will attempt and fail before a profitable system is developed. Until then, we’ll have to attend and see.