Will You Pay for Internet News?

By Ray Hunt

The newspaper business is “malfunctioning” in the internet era, according to one Rupert Murdoch.

And the solution the sun king is proposing is to make people pay to access newspapers via the internet.

”We think of newspapers in the old-fashioned way, printed on crushed wood so to speak, [but the future of newspapers] it’s going to be digital,” the 78-year old media mogul said in a recent interview on News Corp’s Fox Business channel in the US.
”Within ten years I believe nearly all newspapers will be delivered digitally,” he added.

This rapid evolutionary process is already eating into newspapers profits and circulations around the world. American broadsheet newspapers have been mortally wounded in the past 18 months, hit by a double whammy of decline in advertising and readership driven by the recession and people moving to online newspapers and media websites.

Mr Murdoch plans to start charging access fees for some of New Ltd’s newspaper sites over the next year – starting in the UK, according to his public comments – to make up for falling print advertising and to boost online earnings.

A group of major American newspaper publishers reportedly gathered a fortnight ago to consider how to move their online businesses to a pay-per-view model.

The concept of making people pay for online media has got some momentum. Publishers in Australia and around the world are watching their old business model disintegrate. Classified advertising, the financial life blood of most newspapers, is moving to the web.

Whatever happens, big changes to the way the news media interacts with its customers are on the way.

A few questions arising for Blogocrats: which media would you be prepared to pay to access online? If you have to pay-per-view for online media, do you think it will change the way you access the news?

And – here’s a potentially lucrative new revenue generating concept for pressured media proprietors – why not let customers pay a fee to nominate boring programs, obnoxious news storylines, and pompous media personalities for removal from the media web?

Tell us which media programs, annoying stories and presenters you would be prepared to pay a small amount to banish from the media landscape? And why?