Tuesday, 5 February 2008
Irish News makes unwelcome return to online subscription
The essence of a successful internet site for a newspaper is traffic. Gaining as much exposure for your newspaper and its content increases advertising, develops a readership that may not be inclined to buy the newspaper otherwise and establishes your brand as an authoritative cutting edge news source.
In a local situation such as Northern Ireland, the internet is a perfect platform to establish your paper as the predominant authority on our local news, both for browsers at home and abroad. It seems therefore an astonishingly short-sighted move for the Irish News to return to subscription only content, after a number of weeks of being free to view.
I was aware that the free to view online edition would only be a temporary measure, but I suspected that perhaps a positive response and the fact that the print version would not be adversely affected may have caused a rethink. Certainly there are those on the newspaper’s staff who believe free online access is the way to go and the subscription income is said to be negligible.
Perhaps this is something the Irish News’ management will go away and think about. They may wish to ponder why the vast majority of major national and international newspapers provide their online content free. Meanwhile if you want to read today’s issue online you will be charged £3 (yes £3!!). Or you could wait and read the most interesting articles on News Hound!