Monday, November 9, 2009

Paying for Online Content...

I read in the Independent today that Rupert Murdoch let slip last week that he has been talking to other publishers about how to charge online readers for the content produced on newspaper websites.

The principle behind it is that many people are turning to websites for their primary source of news as opposed to buying newspapers. Newspapers are obviously losing money from this as many people will choose to use the Internet and get the news from newspaper websites for free, instead of buying the actual paper. The Internet has had a massive effect on traditional media, especially newspapers, and will continue to run them out of business as many media experts have predicted. This year has seen two of the newspapers in the above image already go bust, The London Paper and The London Lite (admittedly these were freesheets!)

I found this article from 2006 in Time which states "Newspapers on paper are on the way out. Whether newspaper companies are on the way out too depends. Some of them are going to find the answers. And some are going to fritter away the years quarreling about staff cuts." (,9171,1538652-2,00.html)

I think a key player in all of this is advertising. As it says in the article above, newspaper companies could survive if they can keep advertising revenue from the online content, even if the newspapers themselves go bust. Increasing the advertising could also be key as advertising really is the lucrative market here.

The main opposition will come from people not wanting to pay for the content, especially as they are paying for their Internet connection already. But I think that this is something that could easily be counteracted.

I think if newspapers were to become extinct I'd consider paying for news from a professional news source, written by a professional journalist, mainly because I think the credibility of that compared to a blog written by 'some acned 12-year-old in his parents' basement recycling rumors from the Internet echo chamber' as the above article humorously suggests, would clearly be much more reliable. Credible journalism costs money so I would have to say that it isn't fair for readers to expect this for free. I'd still prefer a paper though!


  1. Interesting.. I think students like you and me (read journalism students), and the public today reading newspapers like the independent, the times, guardian etc. could consider paying for 'professional' news as we know the opposite side - the 'acne-boy' kinda news. I'm not sure whehter the group reading red tops would consider paying though - like you said, people are already upset about paying internet connections fees etc, and this is a bit dangerous. Even though this group of society mostly get their news from less reliable sources they do still read news and keep themselves up to date with what's going on in the society. If newspapers were to only be online based in the future with an online-fee to read, I think part of the society, that is already considered 'low-market' would be affected the worst..

    Look at me rambling on.. Just general thoughts. Like I said, interesting!


  2. Thanks for commenting Maddie - I agree though...and there's still a role to play for television news which people would probably use as well if newspapers go bust because they already pay their licence fees...until the internet takes over that as well!