Murdoch's new paid subscription model

Falling newspaper advertising demand and lower circulations as readers move online are some of the reasons that have prompted Rupert Murdoch's attempt at reshaping the market for online news. The plans are to introduce his new subscription model in June before the World Cup where readers of the websites The Times and The Sunday Times will be charged for access. Murdoch recently announced charges to use its online content. Readers will be charged:

  • "1 for a day's access" the same price as the weekday newspaper
  • "2 for a week's subscription to the two sites
  • International visitors are charged $2/€1.50 a day or $4/€3 a week

While print subscribers to these newspapers will receive free web access, paying for online newspaper content in the past has been targeted to more specialist newspapers such as the Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal. So if free content is readily available on other news websites and blogs, will people be willing to pay for this? David Grunwald, media consultant at Deloitte, said the key to paywall success would depend on the uniqueness of the content. "If a publisher has content that is readily elsewhere available, then readers will migrate away,' he said. "But if a publisher can offer niche or premium content such as brand-name columnists, top restaurant critics " it may well be that more people will be encouraged to subscribe.' The internet has opened up many new methods of information distribution where countless sites are free to use. If Murdoch's news content isn't unique and can be found on sites at no cost, time will tell whether this paywall will succeed or not.

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