MediaGuardian.co.uk to go paid for?
Very interesting news coming from Guardian boss Carolyn McCall today at the Fipp World Magazine Congress in London where she is talking about charging for content and MediaGuardian.co.uk could be one of its sites that goes paid for.
She said: “More people are looking seriously at how they can make money charging for content that costs a lot of money to make. I don’t think we will be doing much content online in B2B unless we get money for it. It’s crazy that we do so much to put content out there but we don’t get money for it.”
It’s interesting that McCall would cite MediaGuardian.co.uk and B2B as it is reflective of the way the thinking is going in the industry over what could possibly be charged for.
There seems to be from what I hear a consensus emerging that goes like this: the boat on generic breaking news has long since sailed and you can not charge for that content, there is simply too much of it out there; but specialist and niche news offers the possibility of charging.
This content is much more of a premium. It is not so freely available or freely replicated.
Some of this content used to be paid for. The territory that MediaGuardian.co.uk operates in for instance overlaps with what we do at Brand Republic and Haymarket in general and some of that content used to be paid for.
Take Campaign’s original website, when that launched that was all paid for and only available to subscribers. I remember talking to people back then about that model when much other content was free. That is all a long time gone, but here we are again.
If the Guardian makes a jump and puts some kind of charge or attaches subscription access to MediaGuardian.co.uk and others specialists areas of its network (or the B2B Emap business that it owns that includes Drapers Record, Broadcast and Retail Week) then others will quickly follow. There will be a global trickle.
People will still be able to get much free, but for those who want more specialist business and industry news, they might well have to pay for it.