Billionaire media mogul Rupert Murdoch is ending the great newspaper debate by going on record and letting everyone know, “having a free newspaper website is a flawed business model ”. When Murdoch was questioned yesterday during a conference call with reporters and analysts about online subscriptions he replied simply “We’re absolutely looking at that. The current days of the internet will soon be over." Many would question the wisdom of this, but in his defense Murdoch points out The Wall Street Journal which has enjoyed massive growth in their online subscriptions division.
It anybody’s guess at this point whether or not this approach will work for mainstream news, but one thing is certain, the status quo can only end in bankruptcy. Many within the industry have described online news websites as “trading analog dollars for digital cents”. Dwindling advertising revenue has been compounded by the global recession and many wonder how much longer newspapers will be able to hang on. Several have already bit the dust and with so many other great alternatives , one wonders what if anything will solve their financial woes.
Is it too late for Newspapers to charge for online subscriptions now? Or is there still time to wind back the clock?