Yup, I agree - I think this is a disastrous decision. (For him, anyway!)
They're trying to sell us the change as "exciting". Do they think we're stupid or something?
The paywalls never came down at the Wall Street Journal, another Murdoch property. It's (possibly not coincidentally) one of the few newspapers in the U.S. that's doing well.
I don't mind paying for content; I suspect that eventually we will find ourselves returning to the old AOL model, in which you pay for access but some middleman assembles the content.
But the Wall Street Journal is something of a trade publication as well as a newspaper, and so may have more of a captive audience? (I can just see all those financial professionals writing their subscriptions off against tax.) The same would probably apply to the FT here: but the Times is just one right-leaning broadsheet newspaper amongst many, and its easy enough to switch to the Telegraph.
The WSJ is also the only right-facing major paper in this country, and as such has a pretty loyal subscribe base. EDITED TO ADD: I also write off my subscription to my Philadelphia paper, which I need for work...
Edited at 2010-06-16 12:43 pm (UTC)
I'm in agreement with steepholm- the WSJ is a special case. Britain has four national broadsheets. My guess would be that the disappearance of one of them behind pay walls is going to mean better traffic for the other three.
For the record I've been in the habit of reading all four online. I'll miss The Times for one or two of its writers, but not enough to pay for it at a time when money is tight.
I subscribe to the Wall Street Journal and the Philadelphia Inquirer. I will do without a lot before I cancel either subscription.
The NYT did a pay model a few years back and lost money, because people can easily get the news elsewhere for free. I wonder what is different about this model that makes them think it will work.
I didn't see pay well on the site this morning.
I suppose Murdoch is gambling on The Times being a uniquely prestigious title, but I don't see that it is- or not any longer. There are three other British national broadsheets- all offering similar news coverage- and a range of comment from left (the Guardian) to right (the Daily Telegraph).
Agreed! We can simply go elsewhere. Actually, my provider gives me daily news and weather, etc. as part of my internet connection fee. Why should we have to pay twice?
I have that as well- and then there's the BBC site. I'm a bit of a news junkie. If this development cuts down on the amount of time I spend reading newspapers it's probably a good thing.
Me, too. Especially since there is such a dearth of unbiased reporting.
The BBC site is key - which is why Murdoch will try to get his pals in the Tory government to go after it and whittle it down. But as things stand, it's the best place to find news and while it's there, nobody needs the Times.
I won't subscribe, not because I can't afford it but because I can't be bothered. Setting up accounts, remembering to pay, giving someone else my details - nah... As you say, he's old, I don't think he gets how available news is online.
(here accidentally following link from mutual friend)
All the news sites carry the same material. If one of them nets an enormous scoop all the others will be onto it and following it up within minutes. All I'll miss are one or two of the Times' writers- notably Matthew Parris.