Thursday, 6 August 2009

News Corp to charge for online access

(By Richard Holway 9.30am Thursday 6th Aug 09) News Corp hasn't had the best of years. It's response is to pledge that we will have to pay for online access to all its titles from next year. That not only includes The Times but also The Sun. See The Guardian - Rupert Murdoch plans to charge for all news services next summer.

We've covered this topic many times on HotViews. Indeed HotViews itself is at the heart of the issue. Firstly, I tend to read all the newspapers online the night before and we link to many of their stories - quite legitamately and for free. Then HotViews itself is free. But we use it as a marketing channel - not an end in itself. We know that advertising can never cover the production costs. Our main revenue stream is from subscriptions - where we have been knocked out by the takeup.

But what does News Corp have to offer as a 'subscription'? Staightforward news is free - I can get it from so many sources now. I will pay for top rate opinion (as our subscribers do for ours) But I think News Corp is going to find the going very tough.

The most likely outcome - and I'm not sure I like it too much - is that the chief opinion makers from the newspapers will setup their own 'blogs' as indeed many are doing. So we won't need to go to The Times to read Anatole Kaletsky or Matthew Paris - we will go direct.

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