Will a paywall pay for News of the World?
News International’s move to charge for online content is gathering pace with Sunday tabloid The News of the World following The Times and Sunday Times behind a paywall, starting in October. And, according to The Guardian, The Sun is expected to follow suit over the next couple of months.
Figures on the impact of the paywall on The Times circulation have been difficult to find, and interpreted in many different ways by commentators, advertisers and rival papers. However it obviously isn’t deflecting Rupert Murdoch from his mission to charge for his content on the web.
One thing that’s clear about when paywalls work (for example at The Financial Times and The Economist) is that they rely on unique content that you can’t get elsewhere. Therefore, people are willing to pay for it. This has been an issue for The Times, as much of it what it has is available (for free) on rival papers or the BBC website.
Actually, given the News of the Screws specialises in exclusive, in your face exposes, from Wayne Rooney to Max Mosley it might well be better positioned than The Times when it comes to content that you can’t find anywhere else. What would really work and cement its position is a clever mix of online and print – how about subscriber access to top stories on Saturday evening (just in time to discuss down the pub), an interactive ‘How to guide’ for cracking celebrity voicemail or a YouTube-style facility to send in your videos of cavorting/drinking/drug taking with a Premiership footballer/politician?
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- Has Rupert Murdoch’s paywall gamble paid off? (independent.co.uk)