Guardian's combative response to the Times and Sunday Times paywall move

The Guardian has continued its combative response to The Times and Sunday Times paywall move by publishing a tongue in cheek online welcome letter to Times readers locked out by the paywall move.

John Crace writes “Here at the Guardian we can offer everything you ever wanted from the Times – and more – for nothing”.

On Friday The Guardian announced that it had signed up the legal blogger Tim Kevan, who resigned from The Times website in protest at the paywall move.

Kevan said in a press release statement calculated to wind up News International: “Not only does the Guardian have what I consider to be the most vibrant and innovative online presence of any of the national newspapers but also what is now the very best law section, freely available to all. I’m particularly impressed by the way they have introduced the idea of partnering with bloggers such as myself, allowing me to retain my own website and identity. It’s a paradigm-shift away from the old-school need for ownership and exclusivity and is definitely the way forward for traditional media to harness the power and energy of the web’s creative forces.”

It looks like we are set to return to the old needle and sabre-rattling that we enjoyed during the old quality newspaper price war of the late Nineties and early Naughties.

It can only be a matter of time before The Times rises to the bait and hits back directly at The Guardian in some form – perhaps by bursting into Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger’s office and calling him a “fuckwit” as James Murdoch did to Independent editor Simon Kelner during a dust-up over election coverage in April.

The free versus paywall debate in the quality market is a price war by other means and it is interesting to see that The Telegraph and Independent, ruthless competitors when they want to be, are so far refusing to make hay at The Times’ expense.

It seems likely that they are reluctant to pan a paywall move which, if successful, they could well adopt themselves.

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