BMG to start charging for content again….

Hmmmm… One year £35; Six months £17; Three months £9; One month £2.75; One edition £0.70 for the pdfs…The blogs, I presume, will remain free…. Possibly on frustration at the low ad revenus coming in… everyone online is afflicted with the same problem, so we sympathise… but it’s sad to see another title put the walls back up… hope it’s worth it…

  • jone
  • Normally I would agree and I have often bemoaned the Irish News’ paywall. But this is Belfast Media and the fewer readers its hate sheers get the better. Ideally it would go out of business altogether.

  • Mack

    The Financial Times editor, Lionel Barber, has predicted that “almost all” news organisations will be charging for online content within a year.

    I can’t see it working. The more companies that wall off their content, the more advertising revenue they’ll leave for their competitors (progressively decreasing the incentive for open competitors to wall off content).

    There are enough profitable large ad-based sites that would /do pay an agencies for news content.

    The costs of putting an article up online are negligible, you can get expert in depth analysis via blogs (written by people who are genuine domain experts) for free, the big news stories will always appear for free somewhere.

    I can’t see anything that would drive consumers en masse to pay for news content (outside of niche services).

  • Mack

    Which begs the question. Given the cost of putting news online is very low – are news organisations finding that free online content are cannabalising their paper sales?

    By introducing charges, will they find that the lose real-world market share (online loses guaranteed) if their competitors don’t? I switched from reading the Irish Times to the Indo precisely because of this.

    Sunday Business Post put their online version on at the end of day (when the papers are pretty much no longer available for sale), presumably to prevent online cannabolising paper sales, while maintaining a mechanism to retain brand awareness / interest etc.

  • slug

    The Economist I think charges for access. FT does for some parts of its service similar to Irish News. So the model does work.

  • cynic

    Is theresome way we can charge them to get out?

  • cynic

    Slug

    I am sorry but I have to challenge you on this. The comparison

    Economist
    Finanncial Times
    Andrersonstown News

    somehow does not resonate. To select but one example

    “Boy (9) scarred by broken booze bottle”

    does not really compare with slightly more erudite articles on

    “Barak Obama and Africa – How different is his policy?”

    or

    “China on Track to meet its GDP targets”

  • I think it’s a bit much for Chekov to describe the BMG’s titles as ‘hate sheers’ [sic] without being challenged on the matter. Where’s his evidence that the Andersonstown News or any of the other titles in the BMG portfolio promotes ‘hate’? He should put up or shut up.

    I am a former employee of the BMG, having been an editor of
    Lá Nua, now defunct, and understand the effort it has taken to turn the Andersonstown News from an anti internment community bulletin to a community news group.
    As for cynic’s point, the Andersonstown News is a local newspaper, not a UK national newspaper or a financial newspaper, it does what it says on the tin.

    The more general point is whether or not it’s doing the right thing by going behind a paywall. In so far as it’s providing a service for Belfast ex pats around the world, I suppose it has to be expected. Sooner or later, it’s going to happen to other newspapers. The internet is free – but someone has to pay for the content eventually and I see the day coming quickly when it becomes the rule rather than the exception when we will be paying for the content. After all, what’s been happening for a long long time is the creation of net junkies who have to get their fix every day from the net – and once the demand is created and it’s seeming insatiable, it’s going to start to cost money to access it.
    On my own site, I have seen a massive increase in traffic over the year and a half or so that it has been developing. I do it as a hobby, in my spare time. But I would like to turn it into a full time job – and how do I do that. Will advertising work the oracle on an Irish language site, probably not. Will a combination of subscriptions and advertising work – it’s a possible.

  • cynic

    “it does what it says on the tin.”

    I agree completely. My point was that if I go to Tesco I may decide to buy a Finest steak pie made with what i fondly convince myself will be high quality cuts. Things will have to be bad for me to pay good money for a ‘value’ pie which I know is probably mostly fat and gristle.

    Now the Value pie has its place in the great scheme of things but unless I am looking for a cheap second hand sofa or want to see this week’s offers in Curleys (not available online anyway) I am unlikely to pay for it.

    So if they want to charge for online access good luck to them. But I bet they end up paying more for the access control and billing system than they take in revenue

  • Mack

    Concubhar –

    The internet is free – but someone has to pay for the content eventually and I see the day coming quickly when it becomes the rule rather than the exception when we will be paying for the content

    In all seriousness, this is never going to happen (it doesn’t and won’t just affect print news either – any industry where services can be digitised and delivered cheaply is affected). Some sites will be able to operate online from advertising alone. They will be able to purchase stories from content providers (perhaps Reuters or the like). Even for smaller news sites, some of them will be profitable. Raw news is always going to be avaialable free to the consumer. Domain experts have a lot to gain personally from putting their views online, so expert analysis is always going to be available for free too.

    That’s not to say that paid content can’t work. It’s just not going to be the major model on the web, the competition from free is just too intense (and as companies capitulate, their free competitors benefit). And going behind a paywall is not without it’s opportunity costs (BMG have to way up a few extra Euros from ex-pats versus a loss of brand recognition and the loss of the opportunity to build up a loyal following)…

    BTW, one other model that might work is to offer ISPs free access for their customers – so BMG (and others) could do a deal with UTV internet or whoever to allow their customers free access while blocking the rest of web users.