Home Opinion iPaper: Murdoch’s last stand on the pay-wall ramparts

iPaper: Murdoch’s last stand on the pay-wall ramparts

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I couldn't agree more with Techcrunch in their article "Murdoch's New iPaper – One Last Tragic Roll of the Digital Dice". Rupert's latest idea of a digital newspaper, designed for the iPad and on subscription only, is doomed to oblivion. Only last month Murdoch's News International closed down the free websites of The Times and The Sunday Times in favour of a subscription-based iPad-friendly edition. According to TechCrunch, this forward-looking initiative has produced only "disappointing" results. And that's on the first month of subscriptions; there is bound to be a severe attrition in revenues as subscribers get sick of paying for what is free elsewhere on the net. 

As far as I'm concerned, I will read free stuff until there is nothing free worth reading. Currently there are several national newspapers in the UK that provide as good, if not better, coverage that The Times. I tried the Financial Times iPad edition for a month. It's ok, but I won't be paying. Nor will I be paying for The Economist on a regular basis after trying out the free come-on subscription. The BBC news site, which is unlikely to be able to charge for access (because it is a public service, funded by the taxpayer), will be there even if all the other national newspapers erect their pay walls.

Newspaper publishers, threshing around for an answer to free internet news, seem to be convinced that people will pay £300 or more per annum to read their stories online. I remain sceptical. I wonder how long it will be before the pioneers of pay-to-read accept that they have shot themselves in their collective foot.

1 COMMENT

  1. I couldn’t agree more with you on this. Murdoch, that most beloved of men, has demonstrated time and time again an almost total lack of understanding about the internet. He has also demonstrated an almost unbelievable ability to reduce good newspapers to junk papers….. Just consider the good old London Times to see that effect. So sad.

    As you say, there are so many good sources of news out there for us to delve into, that to expect to make money selling news online is patently absurd (currently).

    Curious really, as on the face of it, he is a very astute business man, but seems incapable of making the jump from paper and TV to digital news distribution. And frankly, given his “values” long may this state of affairs continue.

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