Ok, so I am being a bit cheeky, but check out what Future’s CEO has just told The Guardian about charging for news content on the internet.
“If you can get it free and it’s as good as a substitute, and it’s as easy to get to, that challenge is monumental, particularly in the UK where you have got a fantastic BBC news. In general news, there’s not a cat in hell’s chance [of charging],”
So basically newspaper won’t make it work and once again the key reason for the UK is BBC news online
However for specialist interests topics – (ie T3, Music radar etc)
“However, my view is that you have a different barrier in specialist interest, that barrier has as much to do with people getting used to it being free. Joe Public does not think it’s free because he’s paying for broadband, like a library card that gives him access.”
Future was experimenting “to see who will pay what and how much”, she said, characterising the group’s approach to digital as “do and learn”, with a mixture of fully-paid, part-paid and free business models.
So does that mean T3 will soon be going behind that paywall? Well putting the whole site behind a paywall would be disastrous, but maybe putting bits of it might just work. £3 a month to access that huge reviews archive? That is surely how a lot of specialist publishers are starting to think.
Will it work though? No one knows until someone takes the plunge and nobody wants to go first.
Btw good to see some relatively encouraging figures from Future today – here is one publishing company that seems to be making money from magazines.