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Aug 10, 2009

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This is interesting, if only because so MANY people said that they'd pay, IMHO. If you ask people a question like that, of COURSE they're going to say no, particularly in a world where they currently don't.
Of course, simple 'vanilla' news is unlikely to encourage subscriptions - but then the value of 'journalism' has been trending toward insight rather than straight reportage (certainly in print) since the explosion in the way people could consume news got underway 20 years or more ago. That's why newspapers have increasing adopted a more magazine-style format.
Personal view: paid content CAN work, but it has to be 'special' and attract value. If Murdoch's plan is simply to do what they do over at WSJ, then he's in trouble. But do you REALLY think that's all he'll do? I watch with interest...

Fair point Mike, and I'm sure behind closd doors Murdoch would settle for only a 78 per cent drop-off post-subscription, but I also think the largely media-savvy respondents to the research (readers and followers of this blog among them) will know quality cannot be produced for free.

Therefore that answer, while encouraging at face value, should also be considered in light of what people are prepared to pay for, versus what newspapers currently produce.

To that end I agree content must be "special".

When we asked people what kind of content they would be prepared to pay for, breaking news gained very little support, sport and gossip none at all, nor puzzles and crosswords. Reviews picked up four per cent of the vote and columnists and exclusive interviews got 28 and 13 per cent respectively.

Add to that the fact not a single response, suggested The Sun produces exclusive content and Murdoch still clearly has a mountain to climb on this issue to convince there will be quality within the gated community of News Corp websites.

Interesting post and survey Will. We (and most of the media world it seems) have been discussing the same thing.

I think the question of whether charging for online content will work for Murdoch and News International is a very different one to whether it will work in general.

Totally agree with the comments above that it can work - but it has to be 'special'. Does The Sun or NOTW offer something i can't find elsewhere? Not for me. Twitter is just as useful for celebrity gossip or breaking news. Certainly in terms of speed.

As Murdoch points out, ‘Quality journalism is not cheap.’ So the choice for publishers seems to be, charge readers (Premium or Freemium eg Economist or FT) or reduce the quality (Free eg Londonpaper). I guess the question is whether consumers feel News International delivers 'quality journalism'.

In a world where ‘news’ travels faster than ever before, value is created by both immediacy and the supplement of authoritative and original analysis which in turn delivers real insight. Free can deliver immediacy but can it deliver analysis that is authoritative and original? (our pov in full - http://c8blog.canvas8.com/blog/)

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