According to a current study, we’re not overly impressed with Rupert Murdoch’s plans to charge for utilization of his online news sites. Of 2,000 people asked if they’d ever pay for online news, 9 out of 10 said ‘No!’ ;.Does that signify Murdoch’s decision to charge users to get into his news sites is foolish?

I wouldn’t pay for news, either, unless…

If I were asked ‘could you ever pay for online news?’, I may possibly say ‘no’, too. After all, in an age once we can usually read about major events on Twitter before any of the news channels report them, why would we ever want pay for access with their content?

However, I would, and often do, pay for quality and ‘luxury’ news. I would not pay a penny for one of many shrinking amount of free newspapers passed out on my method to work in a morning, but I would pay for a Sunday broadsheet with all its extras and trimmings (even although the odds of me actually reading more than a few pages are really small).

I have been known to join a settled members’ area on the site of a particular football team (which shall remain nameless) to access extra content not on the key website: video interviews and press conferences, highlights of reserve and youth team matches, live radio commentary on match days.

Would I pay to read The Sun online? No. You will find usually no more than 2 paragraphs in each image-dominated article anyway. It only costs a few pennies to purchase the real thing so there wouldn’t be much value in using its site. The Times? Maybe, but only if other quality news outlets starting charging, otherwise I’d just select the free one.

Using a Credit Card for a 20p Article?

I’m unsure how much Mr Murdoch wants to charge his users to read a write-up, but I’m guessing there will be some sort of account that really needs setting up. I certainly couldn’t be bothered to obtain my wallet out every time I wanted to read something and I will be very hesitant to commit to subscribing.

On the other hand, if they had a similar system to iTunes, whereby you only enter your password to access a settled article and your card is billed accordingly, dollar to naira  that will make a little more sense. But, if I had to achieve that for every major news provider, it would become very tiresome.

Ultimately, they may be shooting themselves in the foot to some extent. If the website causes it to be harder and less convenient for me personally to read a write-up, I’ll probably go elsewhere. I would assume that I would always manage to read the news headlines free of charge on the BBC’s website, which may not be good news for the advertising revenue of the Murdoch online empire.


Assuming that I just wanted to read a write-up on a settled site so badly that I handed over my bank card details to them, what would stop me ‘reporting’ on which the content said on my freely available blog? I would imagine it will be very difficult for a newspaper group to prevent 1000s of bloggers disseminating the data freely with their users who would gain lots of traffic in the process.

Recipe for Success?

The success or failure of paid news is in the method used to charge and engage with users, assuming that the users value the information highly enough to deem it worth paying for. The jury is certainly still from the whole concept and the odds are that many will endeavour and fail before a profitable system is developed. Until then, we’ll have to hold back and see.