FT: people will pay for general news content
There is a longish piece in the New York Times over the weekend looking at The Financial Times and its paid content strategy. The paper quotes John Ridding, the chief executive of the FT, insisting that people will pay for general news content.
It’s a sort of Field of Dreams approach. You know, charge them and they will p(l)ay approach. I’m sure Shoeless Joe Jackson is on his way. There is an argument that if you say it enough you will convince not only yourself, but others out there as well (I’m not sure it is a very good one though).
From the NY Times piece:
For other online publishers seeking to charge readers, the big question is whether consumers would be willing to pay for general news, as opposed to specialized financial news.
Some analysts doubt it, but Mr. Ridding said he thought they might. “I sometimes think there’s too much fatalism around — people throwing up their hands and saying it’s not possible for general publishers to charge,” Mr. Ridding said. “I think it is possible, and necessary, for them to charge.”
It’s a tag team approach. Ridding’s comments come a couple of weeks after Financial Times editor Lionel Barber told Channel 4 News why news organisations have to act now and charge for online content (and how they can do it like the FT).
More interesting that Riding’s comments, which I think are plain wrong (people will not pay for general news — lucky for the FT as it does not deal specifically in general news), is that the New York Times ran such a piece in the first place. Maybe the paper was just giving its readers a heads up of the charges that it is preparing to levy although the piece gives no new details on that.
What it feels like right now is like the dam is slowly cracking and any moment now the floodgates will open. Rupert Murdoch is planning some online charging coup and the Guardian Media Group is talking about “members clubs”. Whose next?