Online Readers Want To Pay For News, Not Newspapers
The failure of the big daddy of print media Rupert Murdoch to retain more than a third of his 150,000 online subscribers after the iconic Times and Sunday Times dissolved behind the paywalls, was predicted by several analysts including the Financial Times who has successfully modeled its own paywall. You may not love the search engine spiders and the massive Google grip on online communication, but to blank it out from your system means mammoth loss of traffic for your website, even if you have support from the Microsoft Bing. For online readers worldwide want to pay for news and not newspapers, however big and valuable the brand may be.
How the resilient 79-year-old Australian media baron will claw back to gain the numbers lost by adopting a less rigid stand on the internet spiders and restore his online traffic is being keenly watched Already Murdoch softened the impact of the paywall by introducing an introductory offer of £1 per week for a period of 30 days. Competitors like Guardian and the Telegraph besides others like the New York Times which plans to implement its own model of paywall in 2011 are keenly watching the moves of the most celebrated poker player of the media world, with bated breath.
Murdoch’s angst against Google and other online bloggers and news aggregators is justified to a large extent. The cost of reporters paid by the newspapers who generate the original news is prohibitive along with the infrastructure for primary gathering of news. It must be paid for by online aggregators, who use that free news to report further and get paid through Google adsense or direct on line advertisement. As the AFP versus AHN (All Headline News) verdict in the US Supreme court decided the copyright of the news is held by the originator and cannot be used as a free commodity by the aggregators.
Newspapers have been globally under tremendous pressure since the turn of the century as advertisement revenue has been falling each year and is less than half of what it was a decade back. World class publications like BusinessWeek, Newsweek and the French daily Le Monde have changed hands during the past one year due to steep losses in advertisement revenue as well as circulation.The sharpest fall has been seen in the classified ads section where the volumes have dropped by a third to a paltry $6 billion annually.Continued on the next page