Will readers pay for online news?

Will readers pay for online news?

Summary: In this edition of Twisted Wire we look into the user-pays model. We might pay for content if it satisfies our specialist interests, but are the major news publishers geared up to provide such a wealth of content?

TOPICS: Browser

Back in May, Rupert Murdoch said News Limited would start charging users for access to sections of its online news content. Is it a business model that will work, when web users have got used to getting the news for free?

In this edition of Twisted Wire we look into the user-pays model. We might pay for content if it satisfies our specialist interests, but are the major news publishers geared up to provide such a wealth of content?

The Fairfax approach is to use news to raise the profile of its family of transactional-based sites, where most of its online revenue comes from. The media company's approach to user-pays is to wait and see although it does, of course, charge (a lot) for access to most content on The Australian Financial Review website.

In this week's program we talk to three experts about the future for online news media:

  • Jack Matthews, CEO of Fairfax Digital
  • Peter Cox, principal of Cox media
  • Gerd Leonhard, futurist in the media, technology and communication industries

Topic: Browser


Phil Dobbie has a wealth of radio and business experience. He started his career in commercial radio in the UK and, since coming to Australia in 1991, has held senior marketing and management roles with Telstra, OzEmail, the British Tourist Authority and other telecommunications, media, travel and advertising businesses.

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • GTFO Rupert

    I wont be paying for it, ill simply get my news elsewhere. Everybody already knows that the quality of journalism from them is skum anyway. When they opened up their stories for "user comment" Its became like a trashy mag.
  • People will vote with their feet

    A feed from AAP starts at around $500 a week. If Fairfax and News start getting greedy then people will not walk but run towards an alternative free offering.

    Rupert - you have been told. There is a big difference between charging wealthy stock brokers and accountants for premium content and charging everyone for access to BS like a bird getting stuck in a chimney.
  • As if

    Like hell would I pay to access utter crap like the Herald-Sun.

    Luckily we can all access the ABC for free, and get much better journalism at the same time. They are already ahead of the game, with an excellent mobile site, no intrusive ads, yet still able to keep a very high quality of content.
  • ABC News

    ABC News provides everything I need and doesn't suffer from tabloid trash syndrome that sites like SMH are turning into.
  • Paying for Tabloid news online? I laugh

    Who will pay for Tabloid news online that they could just get from Digg.com, twitter or a tonne of blogs anyway? I don't want to pay for celeb/popular news about, Beaconsville or Kyle and Jackio's life story. If I want real news I just go onto ABC, SBS, and BBC because I already pay for it!
  • paying for news online twice

    As far as i am concerned i pay for the news access with my monthly access to the internet & also my mobile phone . i asure everyone that i will not be paying for it a third time round ...
  • GO Ahead Murdoch

    Please go ahead - it would interesting to watch it all tank as who would pay money to read vacuous rubbish. Murdoch is a dinosaur – hoisting his dubious opinions on us via his pathetic lectures as to how we should live and operate society.
  • ABC News

    Suffers from Left wing trash syndrome though.
  • ha

    good thing you have the kkk times then.
  • Pay for news?

    You've got to be joking ... half the time the "news" is hacked to pieces by journalists anyway. Plenty of alternative places to get your daily news fix if that's what floats your boat.
  • Will the ACCC do a Richard Pratt on Rupert Murdoch?

    Let's be clear about this. Murdoch can charge whatever he wants for his content - it's a free market. But when he starts colluding with his competitors to do the same it's anti-competitive behaviour and should not be tolerated.
  • Pay For News

    Who in their right mind would pay for some of the garbage that comes on the newssites.

    And as for anything which has a skerrick of truth in it, has so many different versions of the Journalists own interpretations, a person has to be a mind reader to get the truth.

    Sometimes the bloggers carry more intelligence than the articles
  • How many times do you pay?

    1. Your own computer's run-time.
    2. Your line connection.
    3. The wasted bandwidth on ads for products you don't want anyway.
    4. The further wasted bandwidth digging through the trash stories to find the real "news".
  • times change catch up Murdoch or go broke

    You have got to be joking I wont be buying news. A lot of comments above cover the poor quality and for most part it is fair comment.
    I believe it won�t work except for a few focused and purpose built article providers and I believe all internet information in the public Domain (not private business) should be free to ensure democracy. Democracy is expanding world wide and one of the drivers is free information. Just look at the young in Iran who would have thought the young over their would protest and the dress code and freedom of speech and it is all due to the internet that allow the young to see other opinions around the world and make their own mind up.
    If they want to earn money use the advertising angle on the pages that we read. I agree we do have the ABC which I do watch but we need diversity for a balance in the info we receive. Now lets look at Murdock his son last week in England complained that he could not compete with the ABC and the government should reign in their influence and size. Is this a opportunity to make his pay sites work or is just trying to prop up his crumbling empire. Remember all empires rise & fall and often the cause is the change in technology and the companies or countries not being able to change or adapt.
  • Its called stir marketing

    I'm sure RM is a consummate info player and very savvy businessman so I expect he's using the media to create a solution for him. This process is called “stir marketing” and is very effective. You inject a raw concept into the public domain (ideally towards the market you are targeting) and extrapolate the results. It works well. Obviously there are many less confronting ways to make money from the info News Ltd generates and aggregates. I can think of several.
    Now we've all contributed to this 'Stir marketing' process.