Comment: Will the paywall work? Thanks to Murdoch, we'll soon find out
Posted in: Internet Use/New Technologies at 05/07/2010 04:59
The Times and the Sunday Times websites can now only be accessed for a fee. The rest of the newspaper industry is watching with interest to see how readers react
So the Great Firewall of Wapping has finally been built. Visitors to thetimes.co.uk find an attractive "splash" page with various plums and teasers about the hidden delights inside. Click on any of them, however, and you are taken to a tollgate. The price of admission to the site is £1 for a day pass or £2 for a week, but a special introductory offer (these are early days, remember) gives you 30 days' access for a quid.
To penetrate into the interior of the site, you first have to register, giving Rupert Murdoch your personal data, including date of birth and credit-card details. Interestingly, the earliest birth year offered by the drop-down box is 1880, which suggests that News International's notions of life expectancy are encouraging. Having handed over your quid, the tollgates open and lets you in to the Times website.
Newspapers lag behind in the internet news league
There's naught to comfort newspapers on the vital website front these days. When YouGov in Britain looked at the five most popular news sites it found the BBC (34%), Google (17%), Sky (6%), Yahoo (5%) and MSN (5%) on top. Not a newspaper site in sight. And when AdAge in the United States looked at digital advertising trends, it found online ads going up - by 2014, they are expected to be 56% ahead of pre-crunch 2007 - but newspaper site ads going down, so that by 2014 they are expected to still be 16.3% below 2007.