The Times and The Sunday Times in the U.K. have recently launched digital paywalls on their websites. Will the U.K. experiment become relevant to U.S. newspaper publishers? NPR reports:
ROBERT SIEGEL, host:
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I’m Robert Siegel.
Conventional wisdom tells us that readers are only willing to pay for online news that, A, fuels their passion, or B, helps them make money. Across the Atlantic, though, two leading daily newspapers have ignored conventional wisdom, putting up an ironclad digital pay wall.
As NPR’s David Folkenflik reports, they’re testing whether they can remain relevant while telling readers the free ride is over.
(Soundbite of protest)
DAVID FOLKENFLIK: On a recent visit to London, I came across huge protests clotting the streets. College students were enraged by the government’s proposals to raise tuition. It made headlines everywhere including the Times of London. But if you clicked on thetimes.co.uk, nothing. The Times of London and its sister paper the Sunday Times together have one of daily journalism’s most rigid digital pay walls.
Aside from a brief trial period, if you don’t pay, you can’t read their content on the Web, on the iPad, iPhone, wherever.
Tom Whitwell is assistant editor of the Times of London, with the responsibility for its website. He says making people pay is crucial.
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