Friday, 25 June 2010

Important for newspapers that Times paywall works

There’s a fine piece (subs - appropriately enough - required) in Prospect this month, defending the Times’ decision to erect a pay wall around its website.  The author is adamant that hatred for Rupert Murdock should not cloud people’s judgement on the new initiative.

It’s a commonplace that newspapers, almost universally, are now struggling to return a profit, simply because people have become so used to receiving content for free, over the internet.

Either the media must develop a model which recoups all its costs through advertising, or consumers have to pay a fair price for news, whether it is in a printed newspaper, or on the web.  Otherwise quality journalism will not prove sustainable in the long term.

The Times has made its subscription model affordable, and, in the short term, a preview is available to entice potential customers.  It is also rumoured that access will be bundled with other products, such as Sky television packages.

I’ve used the new site, since its introduction, and I have to say that it is very accessible.  Apart from the interactive content, available only online, it feels like an online newspaper, in a way which other newspaper websites do not.

If newspapers are forced to continue cutting corners to remain profitable, or if websites become so laden with advertising that they are scarcely usable, then readers will suffer.

Any blogger will acknowledge that, while blogs can analyse, it is still main stream journalists who gather the raw material for most content which finds its way unto the internet.

If The Times can find a way to make online newspapers pay, it can only be a good thing for the media and consumers.

1 comment:

Sickboy said...

It was an arrogant clumsy approach to the pay-per-news internet, but enough about Murdock. I’ve been developing ‘open source’ for many years and this stems from my own need to know all things technology, and therefore share freely so that it can be developed further. No matter what they do there will always be those who will have access to all areas; there will always be people who will then bump these ‘open’ areas onto others for free.

I can fully understand the need for companies to make profit and while paying reporters to dig in the nation’s dirt might be repulsive to some, people must also remember that some of that dirt is the grime surrounding MP’s expenses and all that came with it.

So yes, if you can afford to pay for your news and you wish to do so, then why not.

We're living in a media world and I'm a ma-ma-ma media girl.....