The Times they are a’ charging

26 March, 2010

Today The Times and The Sunday Times announced that, from June, they will start charging for access to online content.

The whole pay-wall debate has been going on in the media for quite some time now, with the FT already charging for content and even a few of the trade press such as Global Telecoms Business joining in. While the FT has been successful, I’m not convinced that The Times or The Sunday Times will be able to pull it off.
The FT is so specialist that people don’t mind paying for the content. However news on The Times, aside from the columnists, is all available for free on The BBC and countless other websites. Admittedly the charge is only £1 a day or £2 for a week, which isn’t much. But that’s still £2 that you wouldn’t need to pay on the BBC.

Oddly one of the more sensible suggestions on the paid-for debate came from Charlie Brooker’s column in August. The idea of a system of micro payments is, I believe, a good one as it doesn’t really feel like you’re spending anything. But crucially this needs to be adopted across the board otherwise people will just go elsewhere for free.

It’ll be interesting to see how successful this experiment is, as a lot of people are commenting, why would you pay for content that you can get elsewhere for a similar (or better depending on your preference of newspaper/website) standard for free?

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