The age of free online newspaper content has been coming to its end for a while now and news from across the pond today brings its demise one step closer. The BBC is reporting (and doing so free of charge, we might add) that News International, a subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp is going to begin charging users for access to the London Times and the Sunday Times.
The switch will begin in June and will cost readers £1 for a day’s access and £5 for a weekly subscription. For those of you who aren’t Anglophiles, that comes to roughly $1.50 and $7.40 respectively. This news comes just a few months after the New York Times announced they will be creating their own paywall next year.
While some in the industry are doubtful that the Pandora’s box of free news content can be so easily closed, Murdoch has been a strident campaigner for online subscription fees and an end to aggregator sites (which he colorfully referred to as “parasites”). We can’t blame him either as the pay service for his Wall Street Journal is one of the few that is currently successful, a point that the BBC helpfully points out. Of course, they also helpfully point out less successful subscription attempts like Newsday, which gained 35 subscribers total in three months when they tried a similar plan.
In the end, we would like to helpfully point out that all of this could be moot if the iPad’s impending arrival changes everything in the industry again like some expect. Either way, this story will continue to develop whether or not the price of reading about it does as well.
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