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Premium content model rush

Posted by Michael Bloch in online world (Saturday May 30, 2009 )

Where Rupert leads, others often follow. Mr Murdoch’s plans to have Internet users pay for premium online newspaper content among his brands have set others considering the same.

Newspapers have been hemorrhaging cash for a while and some have failed altogether in the last couple of years.

Around two dozen newspaper executives are meeting in Chicago at the moment to discuss ways newspapers can charge web surfers to read stories and hopefully stay alive.

Rupert Murdoch says the future of newspapers is digital. Wow, for such a smart guy it took him a while to figure this out. I guess he wasn’t alone though; plenty of others sneered at the web in terms of it being a potential threat until relatively recently.

But it’s not just newspapers that are taking another look at charging readers. Time Warner CEO Jeffrey Bewkes hinted the company may be planning to switch from free to fee.

As of yesterday, GigaOm Network is also selling subscriptions alongside the site’s existing free tech blogs. According to Business Week, for $79 annually, readers can gain access to premium content including research reports and more in-depth stories.

This is all going to be really interesting – premium content news and tech sites have been pretty much few and far between; maybe there’s a major shift about to occur across the online world?

As for the newspapers, I think the best chances they have for success is to band together and sell memberships that provide access to multiple sites. It’s what the adult industry did and does; and it looks like a more “mainstream” service called Journalism Online has latched onto the same strategy for mass media and is currently trying to woo some major players.


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