As newspapers continue their self-imposed march to the grave, Rupert Murdoch, who, whatever you may think of him, deserves our respect for his agressive belief in newspapers, has announced tentative plans to move begin charging for access to the vast array of international newspapers in his News Corp Empire, including the New York Post, the Australian and the Times (UK). His recently-acquired Wall Street Journal already charges for online access to its content. News Corp may also strike an exclusive deal with Microsoft's new search engine, Bing, whereby surfers would not be able to use Google or Google News to search for News Corp content.
It's a bold gamble. But it's a gamble predicated in a belief that good content is still valuable. And it's an idea better than whatever else has been proposed by other newspapers, because they haven't come up with any. Well, except for the still-in-development Google Fast Flip, which promises to replicate the actual experience of reading a newspaper i.e. turning the pages and coming across articles that you may not have read if you just scanned headlines on a news website all in a graphically-pleasing, fast-loading format. The question is if anyone even wants to read news in a traditional-manner any more. Certainly, banner ads and web-ads in general would be more effective if they were presented as part of a graphically-pleasing whole, rather than as afterthought add-ons to already clunky news pages.
Because that is the current model, and the current model is not working, as evidenced by this pathetic banner ad that accompanied my surfing of the nypost.com site this morning.