Date

Sat - 20.01.2018


Times & Sunday Times begin charging online

Times & Sunday Times begin charging online

Newspapers everywhere are taking a good hard look at paid content, and how, or whether, paywalls can benefit them. Rupert Murdoch's The Times and Sunday Times are being watched today, as they begin charging for online content - the first non-specialist newspapers in Britain to do so.

As online ad prices and paid circulation go down, all while online readership soars, experts predict many newspapers will continue trying out different types of online paid content models. Other newspapers will certainly look to thetimes.co.uk and sundaytimes.co.uk for lessons. Both sites will charge £1 for a daily subscription, or £2 for a weekly subscription.

"We believe the new sites offer real value and we look forward to continuing to invest and innovate for readers," said Rebekah Brooks, CEO of News International, News Corp's British subsidiary, Agence France-Presse reported today.

The basics of an online paid content business model are based on both attracting enough paying customers and serving high-yielding advertisements to that very dedicated audience.

Traffic to The Times website had dropped significantly since it began asking readers to register in May, in the period before it began charging, Robin Goad, of Experian Hitwise, told BBC radio, according to AFP. Because Google is the top traffic driver to UK newspaper websites, contributing almost 40 million unique visitors in April, most users may just search for the same information elsewhere, to avoid the hassle of registering for a site they only came upon through search results. The real test will be if enough paying readers will be found to support enough high-yield ads.

Previously, when The Times website was in its registration period, it lost market share (from 4.37 percent to 1.81 percent) in May, but rival sites weren't benefiting, according to NewMediaAge.

The Financial Times, Wall Street Journal (also owned by News Corp) and Australian Financial Review all successfully charge for content, but all are financial titles and only the latter has a completely sealed off paywall (some FT articles appear via search and the WSJ has a partial paywall). The New York Times will be the next non-specialist daily to try a paywall, expected to be raised in January next year. News Corp's red-top titles, News of the World and the Sun, are also expected to go behind a paywall in the future, MediaGuardian reported.

Author

Leah McBride Mensching

Date

2010-07-03 00:18

Shaping the Future of the News Publishing


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