If monetising news websites is a war, it looks like the big publishers are about to send in the ground troops. Rupert Murdoch has again committed his papers to charging for news in the near future, the Financial Times is experimenting with an iTunes-style micropayments model and just about every other newspaper is looking at ways to get readers to pay for online news. Our Staci D Kramer gave her take on those plans, but what do other digital thought leaders think? Here’s a round-up…
– Trinity Mirror (LSE: TNI) CEO Sly Bailey: “It is clear that a paid online model already exists for unique, high value and well-differentiated content. However, we very much doubt that it is possible for publishers to charge for general news content when the same content is given away free by the BBC, Google (NSDQ: GOOG) News and others.” Via Guardian.co.uk.
– FT.com MD Rob Grimshaw: “In general, we don’t see any reason why paid content has to be confined to niche marketplaces… If you just reproduce wire copy and press releases then that’s not quality journalism and people won’t pay for it — but if it’s different from what they can get elsewhere then they will.”
– Forrester analyst Nick Thomas: “Charging for news will be very hard… Building paid models around verticals and rewarding communities of subscribers with additional content seems a better bet. But that may not go far enough, quickly enough. Linking online access to a paid offline subscription (as per The Economist) or introducing a tiered access model (like the FT) would risk the actual and potential online ad revenues by drastically reducing scale. Such a move would clearly delight rivals like The Guardian and The Mail, if they can afford to keep their online products free.”
NYU CUNY Graduate School of Journalism professor and Guardian.co.uk columnist Jeff Jarvis: “…For most, pinning hopes for the survival of news on charging for it is not only futile but possibly suicidal.”
– Telegraph.co.uk communities editor Shane Richmond: “This is a great opportunity for the Mirror, the Daily Star and, I suppose, producers of pictures of topless women, to hoover up those Sun readers who aren