Sunday, August 09, 2009 Plots Pay-per-Article System

Rupert Murdoch has declared no more online news for free but has yet to declare how, when and the impact is going to be interesting to watch. Now the aims for one-click pay-per-article system by next summer, and plans a review which could put an end of any free content on the website. currently offers users who register their email address access up to 10 articles a month free of charge and some 1.4 million have registered for this service. However, internet users can currently browse a couple of articles each month without registering. An online subscription costs £150 a year, a premium-level service that includes added content such as the Lex column costs £199 a year.

The balance is between offering too much free content, which could result in a reduction of subscriptions and registrations and obviously restricting general traffic that could generate revenue through advertising or converting occasional visitors to paying users. If users can’t get in they may well, irrespective of quality, go elsewhere. Advertising may not be happy with restricting views and effectively containing subscriptions.

So the online questions facing newsprint are not simple and its not certain that the brand and content can always carry the migration from paying for physical newspapers to subscription payments for online. If all you ever buy is the FT then maybe its and easy switch if not pay to read is a pain and subscriptions may not be justified.

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