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News Corp. to end free news
longen




msg:3966779
 10:32 am on Aug 6, 2009 (gmt 0)

News Corp is set to start charging online customers for news content across all its websites.

In order to stop readers from moving to the huge number of free news websites, Mr Murdoch said News Corp would simply make its content "better and differentiate it from other people".

[news.bbc.co.uk ]

 

weeks




msg:3968460
 5:30 pm on Aug 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

Thank you Murdoch, now the small and midsize bloggers and news sites will get some extra traffic and ad revenues. Looking forward.

As a consumer and a citizen, should I be looking forward to that? Honestly, I'm not sure. It might be awful. But, it might be better.

One thing I would like to see is better managed community discussion boards regarding the news. We see here at WW how compelling a board can be, but most newspaper comment sections are poor.

frontpage




msg:3968462
 5:41 pm on Aug 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

I for one would pay for a subscription to News Corp sites. I think it is a great idea.

It will really show what news sources people trust and which ones they don't when they vote with their pocketbook.

Digmen1




msg:3968497
 6:31 pm on Aug 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

I think Glitterball and Calculus have the right idea.
Do the same for music and movies too.

StoutFiles




msg:3968596
 9:07 pm on Aug 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

Thank you Murdoch, now the small and midsize bloggers and news sites will get some extra traffic and ad revenues. Looking forward.

Actually, if people do start paying for news content, they will be less likely to go to the midsize sites. They will use the news they pay for first and then be less likely to bother with the scraps.

weeks




msg:3968603
 9:48 pm on Aug 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

Those who lived it have a difficult time describing the wild, wild world of the dot-com boom. But here is one small fact that says volumes: In the early days, The New York Times paid Yahoo to have NYT news on Yahoo's site. If you ever experienced how hard-nosed the NYT is about their content, this is not just amazing, but blow-your-cola-out-of-your-nose hilarious.

The news companies blew it BIG time in the early days. (I blame especially Associated Press. They are kind, smart people, but they screwed up more times than anyone can count.) It's going to be tough to put the toothpaste back in the tube.

swa66




msg:3968659
 1:23 am on Aug 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

My prediction, based on efforts I've seen out here and been involved in over the years: paid news, even from established paper news outlets is a mirage. It simply does not exist, nor work.

But if the boss wants to try, I'd gladly offer consulting services to get it as right as possible, but it'll still fail utterly as the users aren't willing to pay. There simply is no market big enough to make it work.

News outlets should be good at getting their free content monetized with direct advertising deals foregoing the middlemen like google adsense and the often mediocre advertisers on there.

The biggest mistake I currently see on news sites is their too hard embrace of "web 2.0": allow hundreds of pointless comments on a a small snippet written by a journalist.
To do it right: Drop the flamebait, write your own copy, get impression based advertisers (just like they do in the print version) and be authoritative on the web. You're a newspaper, not a worthless blog, be the authority, the place to go and people will come and stay seeing more ads and get your money that way.

Newspaper get sold for the content, not for the letters from the readers, and certainly not if those reader contribute letters outnumber the real content 100:1 .

Part of being an authority is also keeping it accessible forever on the same URL. No after a month we;ll still charge for it as it means nobody dares to link to you as it'll disappear and become inaccessible. If you're the authority paper newspaper, your paper will end up in the library, see it in the same fashion (except you can still earn long tail ad impressions on it ... which you can't as a newspaper (the advertiser still wins) in a library.

If they start to pressure the likes of AP not to make their stuff widely available, and charge a lot of money to access it so not every blog competes with them: I'm all in favor. I'd rather have a newspaper where I know what they stand for and what their bias is spread the news than have individual bloggers do it where I're no idea of their hidden agenda.

signor_john




msg:3968779
 2:09 pm on Aug 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

Newspaper get sold for the content, not for the letters from the readers, and certainly not if those reader contribute letters outnumber the real content 100:1.{

I think newspapers have gone overboard on the "community" aspect, but maybe that approach is necessary to get the registrations and (in some cases) reader data to help with advertising sales. A partial solution might be to put reader comments on pages that are separate from editorial content (as some newspapers do) and sell ads in "editorial" and "run of network" tiers, with ads that are limited to news and feature pages fetching higher CPMs than RON ads that also appear on community pages.

weeks




msg:3968802
 3:04 pm on Aug 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

swa66 and signor_john...

I agree, but fyi, Letters to the Editor usually surveys as one of the top read items in the newspaper. (I seldom read them myself, but most subscribers do.)

What you outlined makes good sense, but it's not reality. The newspaper was once the public square where everyone exchanged ideas--not so much the authority, but a place where the authorities turned to explain. Now, not so much. Thus, the problem.

Also, putting the archives behind a paywall was tried early on. This was, in my opinion, a major mis-step.

Anyway, here is Ken Doctor, one of the news industry's more thoughtful people says about Murdoch's plans:

Murdoch started his comments yesterday with the notion that classifieds will never come back to their previous levels. You can draw the line between that comment and his--and his industry's--wish to charge for content. The problem: just because one huge revenue source is finally acknowledged to be beyond repair, that doesn't mean the marketplace will let you open a new cash spigot. The marketplace, in fact, shows little sign of supporting "paid content."
[contentbridges.com...]

Doctor says he thinks that the All-Access Pass has the best potential of bringing in some income via paid content.

Here's what I know for certain: I don't know.

incrediBILL




msg:3968841
 5:14 pm on Aug 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

Before the internet everyone paid roughly $10/month for your local paper so what's the big fuss?

Printed newspapers used to be virtually free and they only charged to cover the costs of the printing and delivery. Heck, I rarely ever paid for a paper to be delivered because the newspaper wanted to keep their advertisers happy so I went from one free trial to another for months at a time. I knew I didn't have to pay and so did they because I helped pump up the circulation numbers for their advertisers.

However, along comes the internet and Google runs away with all the online advertisers.

Now everyone gets their news online for free, print publications are closing left and right, and Google has a lock on the ad revenue.

The business model has changed, the advertisers have shifted, so what else is there left to do but charge for it?

Someone has to pay for reporters to report and if advertising models fail to work then you'll pick up the costs directly.

Personally, I'd rather pick which sections of the news I pay for because for the first time in history you could pick and choose what you want, column by column or section by section.

Maybe we won't pay for Dear Abby or gossip columnists, they can all go pound sand.

If I don't want to read sports I shouldn't pay for sports content either.

Let each section of the paper earn it's keep and sell us the content we want, not all the junk that has been traditionally shoved into a paper to encompass everyone's tastes.

tangor




msg:3968862
 6:50 pm on Aug 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

Before the internet everyone paid roughly $10/month for your local paper so what's the big fuss?

Before the internet, before the liberal bias of news reporting, newspapers were the Fourth Estate, a voice of the people... and it simply is not that any longer. Journalists, at one time, reported news, they weren't out to change the world...

I won't pay for it because the current product is so radically biased libtard and seeks to control me, rather than report to me events which might beg for my control (my opinion).

Micro payments might work, as it does for the petroleum industry with that 9/10ths of a cent appended... but only if it is that 9/10th of a cent!

night707




msg:3968887
 8:32 pm on Aug 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

Before the internet everyone paid roughly $10/month for your local paper so what's the big fuss?
Yeah, and we paid big bucks for b/w tv sets and the latest hit single.

Print is doing too much damages to the environment and makes mobile devices, HD TV and notebooks the future media.

We need more trees all over the world instead of turning them into paper.

Of course, there are superb markets for paid content, but it has to be good and genuine outside the triple X zones.

tangor




msg:3968931
 11:14 pm on Aug 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

We need more trees all over the world instead of turning them into paper.

Trees we can get. Easy to plant, only take a few years to grow unless you say NOT IN MY BACKYARD. (grins)

Getting unbiased news for the same price as previous days, however, is gone, gone, gone!

walkman




msg:3968938
 11:26 pm on Aug 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

Subscriptions work only if Ap, CNN, NBC, ABC, NYT, Gannet, News Corp, and Time Warner among others joined in one $10 or so a month package. Think of it as cable, and if they got together, there is no real way to read them. A snippet here and there is no substitution.

Think of the fights among publishers over $$ division though...

incrediBILL




msg:3968946
 12:09 am on Aug 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

newspapers were the Fourth Estate, a voice of the people

OMG that's hysterical, unbiased, that's a good one.

Print is doing too much damages to the environment and makes mobile devices, HD TV and notebooks the future media.

Electronics does just as much damage and even more pushing out truly toxic compounds into the environment, much more so that print media.

Why do you think most electronics production left the US, cheap labor? Most likely it was cheaper to pollute some other country than deal with the EPA. When the next country gets enough economic clout to complain about the toxic chemicals it moves downstream somewhere else.

Paper and ink is actually quite tame to environment by comparison as paper is a renewable product and it's recyclable.

Paper can be made out of wood pulp, rice straw, hemp and many other sources and in the US there are lots of tree farms unlike the clear cutting in some countries.

Unlike the ebook readers which consume yet more and more energy after they're manufactured by burning coal or other fossil fuel to generate electricity and when you're done with them you can't easily recycle them like a paperback or newsprint.

Back to the topic...

People PAY for the WSJ today and some online magazines so I would suspect you'll see a combination of local and national news for a single fee but specialty news will continue to be a premium.

lawman




msg:3969111
 11:30 am on Aug 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

OMG that's hysterical, unbiased, that's a good one.

The Press (media now) used to be considered one of the checks and balances on the government; hence Fourth Estate. Like it or not, the media as a Fourth Estate seems to be no more. I don't like it.

Shaddows




msg:3969127
 12:06 pm on Aug 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

I'm not sure that the Media's checks-and-balances role has is eliminated, merely changed.

The modern media is typically partisan. For the US, Fox is pretty right-wing. I often hear the rest of your media displays liberal bias. I find this counter-intuitive; if the media is out of alignment with the masses, it tends not to be consumed. Or, to put it another way, the consumers chose what media to consume. If they don't like one "flavour", they will switch to one that better "speaks" to them.

In the UK, Free-to-air channels are heavily regulated to ensure impartiality. As such, our Print Media is far more partisan than television. To me, the papers act as the Propaganda Wing of their chosen party. They sometimes hold their Party's leadership to account, but mostly they attacK the other(s).

Which just means, to get a balanced view you need more than one news source. The media as a whole holds the government of the day to account- just different sections on different days.

sheetah




msg:3969141
 12:33 pm on Aug 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

i made a subscribtion based news site for a client and here's the result :

when the site was free they had ~20.000 daily unique readers and 100.000 pageviews/day.

one year ago they made the whole site subscription based asking 50$/year.

almost 90% of the readership was lost and the client received lots of complaints and even menaces from loyal customers unwilling to pay.

3000 readers were instead happy of paying the subscription
but not very happy of losing the option to save the article in PDF and share the articles with their friends.

i was very skeptic about this whole experiment but the site in question is in a unique niche were it has been for many year the king of the hill, so at least in this case i can say that once you've really unique and professional content you can make money with subscriptions.

on the other side, i see a downturn in subscritions lately, nobody is linking to the site anymore, and the client have zero knowledge about e-marketing (they reached a huge audience before just with viral-marketing i suppose).

i was also skeptic that nobody would copy the articles or the logins/password around the net but so far we had no troubles at all, probably the pissed former readers just gave up with it and found other news sources.

what's amazing is that this is really a fly by night operation run by three guys who know nothing about web marketing and web development, they really hit a goldmine and are still unable to recognize the luck they had as with other news niches it would have never worked in the first place.

said that, look around, there's plenty of pay per view sites about geopolitics, it/ict, even webmasterworld itself ask for hundreds of dollars a year for subscription and you can bet someone is paying for it or they wouldnt do it.

[edited by: engine at 8:13 am (utc) on Aug. 11, 2009]
[edit reason] language [/edit]

sheetah




msg:3969142
 12:39 pm on Aug 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

sidenote :

the client is now aware of the decline in subscribtions so he told me to add a free section with old "evergreen" articles, but it's not working as supposed as having lost most of their google rank and since nobody is linking their content anymore very few readers come there by mistake or by email linking or whatever else.

on top of this nobody is copying or linking the free articles as they added a huge footer on the articles saying that it's strictly forbidden to copy and you'll get sued.

end of the story : they're slowly sinking into the sandbox and i wonder how long they'll stay in business.

NYT idea of asking money for old articles or viceversa is the way to go in my opinion, as you keep the best of both worlds : money AND links.

ponyboy96




msg:3969143
 12:59 pm on Aug 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

Hey Rupert, you think you business is going down the drain now, wait until you implement your new pay model.

Good lucks with that!

lawman




msg:3969249
 4:22 pm on Aug 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

I'm not sure that the Media's checks-and-balances role has is eliminated, merely changed.

Insofar as the Fourth Estate is concerned, I'm not interested as much in their bias as I am in the application of investgative journalism against whomever is in power. Instead, what we get are 1) ambush interviews that provide no information, and 2) frenzied reaction to whatever news (real or imagined) they accidently stumble upon.

Rugles




msg:3969294
 5:49 pm on Aug 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

I don't see this working at all. Its nearly impossible to get people to pay for stuff that they have been getting for free for several years. Like everybody mentioned, there is plenty of free news available so there is no way this will work.

Murdoch and his kind are now redundant in the news biz.

incrediBILL




msg:3969307
 6:03 pm on Aug 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

Its nearly impossible to get people to pay for stuff that they have been getting for free for several years.

That's not true at all.

I was giving away services on a website for 10 years, all ad supported, and thanks to a push by the economy just switched to a paid subscription model a couple of months ago. Subscriptions are slightly down but the cash is rolling in that wasn't there before.

It's doable.

walkman




msg:3969357
 7:19 pm on Aug 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

Its nearly impossible to get people to pay for stuff that they have been getting for free for several years. Like everybody mentioned, there is plenty of free news available so there is no way this will work.

If the news companies band together, you are outa luck

Rugles




msg:3969417
 8:48 pm on Aug 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

If the news companies band together, you are outa luck

Wouldn't that be collusion?

If they do band together I know exactly what will happen .. somebody will step in with a free internet news service and make a fortune on advertsing for the millions of people they provide free news too. Killing off the other news services completely.

The surfing public has spoken .. we want free news!

ken_b




msg:3969426
 9:15 pm on Aug 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

we want free news!

Great!

Now teach your kid to research and write high quality news stories while meeting a fierce deadline from a bunker in some war torn country, or Washington DC for that matter, while traveling there at his/her/your expense. Then build and promote him/her a website/blog that ranks #1 for his/her stories about important news, day after day.

The freebie hunters of the world appreciate it!

You, of course, can read his/her stories for FREE! :)

callivert




msg:3969460
 10:02 pm on Aug 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

somebody will step in with a free internet news service and make a fortune on advertsing for the millions of people they provide free news too.

The major news organisations already tried it, and figured out that that business model doesn't work. If it did, we wouldn't be having this discussion.

sheetah




msg:3969462
 10:09 pm on Aug 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

free news == junk quality

i can tell you by direct experience there IS a lot of clients willing to pay for high-quality articles about hard to find facts and news, mostly politics and economics but i've seen also gossip sites doing well with premium services and other hybrid business models.

it can all work as long as nobody else is spreading the same content for free.

in this way you've a unique product and the freetards are sc-rewed : they gotta pay or stick with the freebies.

Shaddows




msg:3969463
 10:13 pm on Aug 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

You, of course, can read his/her stories for FREE! :)

Yep, its the same story as music-for-free, movies-for-free and Google Books. Only difference is that the News outlets tried ad-supported first. They tried a new business model, boldly going where no-one, (esp. Big Music and Big Film) had gone before. Its failing.

Just like music and film, if its free, it doesn't get written. Or, free stuff lacks the financial backing to give quality.

WebmasterWorld isn't ad-supported, as I recall because of the inevitable pressure to bias coverage in favour of sponsors. Big news corporations can remain unbiased due to their clout. Small "independant" news outlets would probably not be able withstand this pressure.

I don't want to pay for news (and I'm a news junkie), but equally I fail to see a sustainable model based on advertising. And again, you can't help but feel The Beeb has a bit of an advantage for the future.

sheetah




msg:3969466
 10:15 pm on Aug 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

@callivert :

they tried in the past when money was flowing well via PPC and CPM banners but now times are changing fast, the ad-revenue for the big guys is in deep trouble nowadays, so they either go pay-per-view or they better close their whole business.

one of the main issue is those bloggers and this crazy attitude that "everything must be free".

no, nothing is free, especially in journalism.

we can close down any paper in the world but the many AP, AFP, and Reuters must get the money somewhere to send their guys on the field and cover wars and breaking news around the globe.

the alternative will be either NO news at all or amateurish news along with plenty of fake and anonymous news as they did recently with the Iran affair.

[edited by: engine at 8:11 am (utc) on Aug. 11, 2009]
[edit reason] language [/edit]

hutcheson




msg:3969473
 10:30 pm on Aug 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

>If all the news organisations pulled their material from the web entirely, people would have to watch TV news or buy newspapers

Yeah, and if all those pesky farmers and mechanics dropped dead, hunters would have to start buying my hand-crafted flint arrowheads again.

sheetah




msg:3969732
 1:04 pm on Aug 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

@hutcheson :

not true.

try to find me a free online replacement of National Geographic for instance with long and expensive feature stories and reports from the world.

try also to find me a free replacement for the Wall Street Journal or Financial Times, as now they're both pay-per-view.

This 64 message thread spans 3 pages: < < 64 ( 1 [2] 3 > >
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