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Bill Bennett


Testing if readers will buy online news

Will readers pay for online news?

There is evidence readers will buy specialist information. Business newspapers are able to find subscribers. NBR readers buy news. The Economist does well online.

Yet no-one seems to have cracked the puzzle of selling general news.

Not even Rupert Murdoch.

Which is strange, because for years people paid for printed newspapers. Many still do.

The Guardian reported Murdoch’s iPad-only 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.



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