The Great Wall of Rupert
Back in November last year, I indulged in a spot of preemptive gloating over Rupert Murdoch’s grand strategy to charge for access to what passes for online content at the WSJ, The Times, and other titles in his bloated empire.
It’s only three weeks in, but the results of the paywall so far have been, let’s say, interesting:
The London Times threw up its paywall a few weeks ago; an analysis by The Guardian finds its traffic has gone down nearly 90 percent.
But some results have surpassed expectations, according to this snippet from dirt-digging British satirical magazine Private Eye:
And lo, the paywall on the Times and Sunday Times websites came to pass. Not, as predicted by News International, in May, nor June, but instead upon that red letter day that is Friday 2 July.
And very effective it is, too. So effective, in fact, that even staff on the Times found themselves unable to access the website from their own office free of charge. A plan to issue vouchers giving free access to all employees had been forgotten, and hacks arriving for the early shift on launch day were forced to get out their credit cards and laboriously set up direct debits before they could actually get on to the website to update it.
I can only repeat my closing musing from that November post:
Now what will it take to persuade the Barclay brothers’ Telegraph empire that this is the way to go?
* Yes, I know this is the same Steve Bell cartoon that featured in my first post on this, but what the hey.