This Month saw the return to paid-for news content as THE TIMES took a bold decision to charge for access to their online newspaper. A risky strategy from Mr Murdoch but the entire industry will be watching with baited breath to see if it pays off.

As I recall, back in the early days of the web this was the first business model of most of the newspapers as they dabbled with providing content online for the first time. This model was soon replaced by the user demand for free content online and one by one the papers moved over to an Ad generated model of providing content online, one which was probably a little foreign to most of them.

In recent years though as more and more people have turned to the web for their FREE fix of daily news, newspaper sales have steadily declined leaving the industry wondering what to do next. This is the first solid idea to address this problem but are users prepared to change their habits and fork out for something that they have been getting for free for many years?

Will it work? Only time will tell but we think if it does it will have a knock-on effect across other industries that currently offer FREE online content and could change the way of the web once more. Along side the new revolution of hand-held devices and new user-friendly ways of receiving and even paying for our content this could be the right time for publishers to fight back against the practice of giving away their work for free.

Times Online Article – The Times and The Sunday Times to charge for use of websites from June
BBC Article – Times and Sunday Times websites to charge from June

(Opinion: Simon Farrow – Head of Digital)

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