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article imageFT Editor: News Sites Will Charge Access Within One Year

By Andrew Moran     Aug 5, 2009 in Business
A lot of companies are predicting that online content will not be free anymore. The Financial Times editor is the latest person to discussion a subscription-based model.
In a speech in London, Financial Times Editor Lionel Barber said that within the next 12 months, news agencies will be charging access to their websites. The only matter that will be discussed, according to the editor, is whether they should charge per month or per article or possibly even both.
"I confidently predict that within the next 12 months, almost all news organisations will be charging for content."
This speech comes the same week after Digital Journal reported that the CEO of ask.com said that the “era of online content is coming to an end.” The New York Times is also planning a subscription-based model that would charge users $5 per month to gain access to its online content.
Currently, the discussion between the two models, pay-per-article and per-month subscription, will decide which is more cost effective and revenue based. Pay-per-article would mean that you would pay for every article you read, very similar to the $0.99 songs on iTunes.
The other model is to charge users per week or per month. For example, $1.99 per week, or the New York Times’ plan on charging $5 per month.
"We are seeing sustained and growing revenue as a result of our strategy of premium pricing for quality, niche global content – crucial at a time of weakening advertising. Many news organisations are following suit in charging, latterly the New York Times which had previously come down in favour of free access to its own content," Lionel Barber said in his speech.
Charging for content may be seen as a way to combat slumping revenues. The New York Times is heavily in debt and they need another source of revenue. A lot of publications are losing money because if it is free on the internet, why would some buy a newspaper or magazine?
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