March 26, 2010
The Times Online will soon follow a handful of other online newspapers that have moved to subscription models. Beginning in June, the Times Online will begin charging Â£1 for a day’s access and Â£2 for a week’s subscription. The plan also includes a subscription for the online version of the Sunday Times.
Although the rate seems reasonable, it will no doubt prove to be a disaster for News Corporation, the establishment media behemoth owned by Rupert Murdoch.
- A d v e r t i s e m e n t
In August of 2009, the billionaire Murdoch announced he will begin charging for all his online publications. “Stung by a collapse in advertising revenue as the recession shredded Fleet Street’s traditional business model, Murdoch declared that the era of a free-for-all in online news was over,” the Guardian reported.
Murdoch obviously does not understand how internet news media works. Readers do not want to pay for online news. “There’s little brand loyalty: 82 percent of people with preferred news sites said they’d look elsewhere if their favorites start demanding payment,” the Associated Press reported earlier this month.
Rupert Murdoch needs to follow the alternative online news model if his presence on the medium is to survive. Instead of gargantuan websites with large staffs and huge and expensive overheads, News Corporation needs to scale back and become lean and mean. Murdoch’s sites need to live within their means. The era of large newspapers and lavish advertising budgets is over.
Short of doing this, we can expect the Times Online and other Murdoch enterprises go the way of the Brontosaurus.