Thoughts on politics and life from a liberal perspective

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Another reason why The Times' paywall experiment will fail

I have blogged at length about the future of newspapers and The Times in particular. Now that particular paper in its online form is behind a paywall.

The pricing structure is £1 per day or £2 per week which as I have said before is too expensive. However they are doing an introductory offer of £1 for the first month. Even though I think this whole enterprise is doomed to failure, for £1 for 30 days I thought I would have a pop to experience what life is like on the other side of the wall!

However when I started going through the process I found that in order for me to pay them the following information is mandatory:

E-mail address
First Name
Last Name
Date of Birth
Full address including postcode

And then some check boxes you have to navigate to ensure you don't get a load of marketing bumpf sent through.

I also went to have a look at the information they require to pay for 1 days' access. It is exactly the same. In the end, even at the very reduced price of £1 for a month I didn't bother.

Imagine if you popped down to the newsagents to pick up the Times and before they would let you purchase it you had to fill in a form with all of that personal data listed above. You'd tell them to go and shove it. If they are serious about trying to make this work, they need to come up with an easier way to take payments from people. The fact that they have not done so makes me think they are not serious.

This is yet another reason why The Times' paywall experiment is doomed to failure.


Anonymous said...

I think there is one fundamental aspect of the times paywall which seems to have been overlooked in any analysis that I have come across.

The online subscription is actually irrelevant - it is only likely to attract a few thousand subscribers at most. However, Murdoch also owns 10m billing relationships in the UK through the sky platform. So in a few months time I expect some kind of offer along the lines of "Online access to 4 quality national newspapers (2 dailies and 2 sundays) for only £1 per month on top of your sky bill". Most people would not miss a pound in the context of heir monthly sky bill. Bingo - several millions pounds of monthly revenue into the murdoch stable.

sanbikinoraion said...

Yep, and Sky are very, very good at monetizing their user base in this way.

Jip said...

Whilst I am not paying for the Times' online offering, I am now buying the Times newspaper and reading the Guardian online instead of buying it. Phil Gyford's website which recreates the Guardian newspaper online using the Guardian Open Platform is fantastic.