Testing if readers will pay for news

Will readers pay for online news?

There is evidence readers will buy specialist information. Business newspapers are able to find subscribers. No-one seems to have cracked the puzzle of selling general news.

Not even Rupert Murdoch.

The Guardian reported Murdoch’s iPad newspaper, The Daily, sold only 80,000 subscriptions. That’s one-sixth of the subscribers he said it needs to break-even.

This is strange. For years readers handed over hard cash to buy printed newspapers. What were they buying if they weren’t paying for news?

You can find an  answer in Julie Starr’s simple test for whether people will pay for news. Her blog post is a thought experiment. It underlines where print readers find – or maybe ‘found’ – value in their daily newspaper.