According to a recently available study, we’re not overly impressed with Rupert Murdoch’s plans to charge for use of his online news sites. Of 2,000 people asked if they’d ever purchase online news, 9 out of 10 said ‘No!’ ;.Does that signify Murdoch’s decision to charge users to get into his news sites is foolish?

I wouldn’t purchase news, either, unless…

If I were asked ‘can you ever purchase online news?’, I would probably say ‘no’, too. All things considered, in a age once we can usually find out about major events on Twitter before the news channels report them, why would we ever want purchase access with their content?

However, I would, and often do, purchase quality and ‘luxury’ news. I would not pay a dollar for one of many shrinking quantity of free newspapers naija news given out on my way to work in a day, but I would purchase a Sunday broadsheet with all its extras and trimmings (even although chances of me actually reading greater than a few pages are extremely small).

I have been proven to join a settled members’ area on the site of a certain football team (which shall remain nameless) to access extra content not available on the main website: video interviews and press conferences, highlights of reserve and youth team matches, live radio commentary on match days.

Would I pay to learn The Sun online? No. There are usually just about 2 paragraphs in each image-dominated article anyway. It only costs a few pennies to purchase genuine so there wouldn’t be much value in which consists of site. The Times? Maybe, but only when all the quality news outlets starting charging, otherwise I’d just go for the free one.

Using a Credit Card for a 20p Article?

I’m uncertain just how much Mr Murdoch really wants to charge his users to learn an article, but I’m guessing there will be some type of account that needs setting up. I certainly couldn’t be bothered to get my wallet out every time I wanted to learn something and I would be very hesitant to commit to subscribing.

On one other hand, if they had a similar system to iTunes, whereby you merely enter your password to access a settled article and your card is billed accordingly, which may make a bit more sense. But, if I’d to accomplish this for each and every major news provider, it’d become very tiresome.

Ultimately, they may be shooting themselves in the foot with a extent. If your website makes it harder and less convenient for me to learn an article, I’ll probably go elsewhere. I would believe that I would always be able to read the news free of charge on the BBC’s website, which may not be good news for the advertising revenue of the Murdoch online empire.

Copycats

Let’s assume that I just wanted to learn an article on a settled site so badly that I handed over my bank card details in their mind, what would stop me ‘reporting’ about what this article said on my freely available blog? I would imagine it would be quite difficult for a newspaper group to avoid a large number of bloggers disseminating the data freely with their users who would gain lots of traffic in the process.

Recipe for Success?

The success or failure of paid news is in the strategy used to charge and engage with users, assuming that the users value this content highly enough to deem it worth paying for. The jury is certainly still on the entire concept and the chances are that many will try and fail before a profitable system is developed. Until then, we’ll have to hold back and see.

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