Something for Nothing?

It was about two years ago that The Times newspaper decided to make its online content paid-for subscription. At the time in my Pay to View blog I said it was a bold move. A few months later PR Week reported that that traffic to the website had dropped by just under one third – I also covered this in my blog Times Online Focuses on Quality

Interesting then that last week’s PR Week reported that The Times and Sunday Times websites are expected to be free access on some days during the Olympics. This decision has been made after the sites reported around 6,000 new registrations during the Diamond Jubilee weekend when the paywall was removed.

PR Week also reports that there is no suggestion that News International is looking to bring down the paywall permanently.

I still argue that no one likes to pay for something that was previously free, especially if they can get pretty much the same information from a competitive newspaper. The Times’ experience over the Jubilee weekend proves that there is still a huge challenge ahead for the industry in terms of overcoming readers’ ingrained expectations to consume online information for free.

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