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The Times and The Sunday Times Disappear Behind Pay Wall

After talking about it for some time, Rupert Murdoch has gone ahead with plans to make his online media offerings only available to fee-paying customers. As of this month, online users who want to view The Times and The Sunday Times content will have to pay to read anything more than the headlines and synopsis that is displayed on the site's front page.

This isn't the first News Corporation holding to go behind a pay wall online, with the financial newspaper, Wall Street Journal, having modest success with this business model. The difficulty will be applying what works for a niche, specialist case to a general news provider, one where there are numerous other equivalent providers that are available for no cost, other than the advertising present on the sites.

Other major news outlets that have tried and failed to implement pay per view for news and analysis online include The New York Times, which was forced to drop a controversial scheme after readers complained.

What might cause the most trouble for this most recent move is the pricing model. As explained in the Welcome Page at The Times, the pricing is ?1 per day, or ?2 per week, something which might be a little bit steep for daily access, and maybe even too steep for weekly access to a site which carries very similar news to other outlets.

Other news providers, who are also looking at implementing some form of fee-based news presentation online, will be looking with interest to see the outcome of this particular effort by News Corporation. If it is successful, other newspapers and organisations are sure to follow. If it isn't, it may be some time before another news organisation tries to implement something similar.

4 July 2010

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