The Times paywall: 'Free distribution of premium content is like eating your babies'

John Gapper writing in the Financial Times thinks Rupert Murdoch will need to take The Times back to its roots as a “vertical” publication serving the specialist interest needs of the professional classes, if his paywall gambit is to work.

Gapper writes:

By publishing more content, data and information for its professional readers – lawyers, accountants, civil servants and the like – The Times could make them feel more like members of a subscription club than vaguely interested passers-by.

His piece carries a priceless quote from a report brought out by media-buying agency Group M:

Free distribution of premium content is like eating your babies. You will give value away until you go bust.

And he notes that according to News Corp, casual website browsers are worth just one tenth of a penny a year in revenue.

Read Press Gazette’s round-up of the News International paywall saga here.

And you can read my thoughts on it here (where I draw parallels with the £10m launch of Sunday Times CD rom The Month in 2003).

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