Remember that pay wall Rupert Murdoch is tossing up on all the “news” sites he owns? Remember all that bitching about freeloading Internet users no longer getting a free lunch? Remember how this was going to monetize the news industry and turn a profit? Well not so much. Via Dvorak Uncensored it appears as though not many people are subscribing to the London Time’s website:
After a month of forced free registrations and two weeks of a full paywall, Dan Sabbagh at Beehivecity.com says these are the numbers:
- 150,000 registrations (PaidContent says this is 12% of the online reader base)
- 15,000 paid subscriptions
- Another 12,500 paid iPad subscriptions
Apparently, the 15,000 paid subscriptions figure is considered “disappointing.”
That may sound like a lot but really isn’t not enough to pay for anything:
At 2 pounds a week, the average online subscriber would produce 100 pounds of revenue a year. 150,000 of them would produce 15 million pounds of revenue.
15 million pounds of revenue would be nice for a company used to living on, say, $5 million of revenue. But it wouldn’t even begin to offset the cost of the Times’ huge newsroom.
Meanwhile, what has the new paywall done to online traffic? So far, it has dropped by two-thirds. That, apparently, is actually better than expected. One editor feared it would collapse by 90%.
So what did Murdoch’s pay wall accomplish? A complete obliteration of online traffic and probably destroyed any chance of making a reason for advertisers to pay for in-site ads. Nice job dumb ass. I hope getting hit with the clue stick hurt.
It’s practically impossible to provide a free service and later turn it into a pay service. Almost everybody who has attempted to do as such has failed pretty miserably. The other thing to remember is the fact it’s very difficult to get customers to pay for a service that is provided free elsewhere (and even more difficult when those free sources are better than the pricey one).