Coffee and crumbs, why paid for content won’t work for The Sunday Times.

I am acutely aware of my silence on this blog over the past two months. This is partly due to intense periods of work experience (which luckily resulted in my first national front page splash for The Sunday Telegraph), and desperate job hunting. Hopefully there won’t be such a long break next time.

So, carrying on as if nothing were amiss…

According to an article in today’s Guardian Media, The Sunday Times is planning to launch a standalone website. This is exciting news, firstly in relation to the jobs that have started to appear as a result. It is refreshing to see some decent journalism roles cropping up, although with experienced journalists vying for the same jobs as mere trainees this may not be a great benefit to me in real terms.

However, another thing to consider is the rumour that the site will follow the example of the Wall Street Journal and FT in asking readers to pay for content.

Previously Murdoch has hinted at the possibility of the Times Online charging for content. He said: “You can expect to see something in the next 12 months. We are planning to introduce a pay model across all our properties but we will test it first on some of our stronger properties.”

Yes, The Sunday Times is one of Murdoch’s ‘stronger properties’, however I’m not entirely sure that a Sunday paper is the most appropriate arm to test out the pay for content model on.

A tradition too tempting to give up?

A tradition too tempting to give up?

Most people I know savour the Sunday papers, spending lazy mornings (and afternoons) over coffee, losing their breakfast table under reams of newsprint and fighting over supplements. This image loses some romance if you imagine perching on a swivel chair with the rest of the household, scrabbling over a mouse and spilling croissant on your keyboard.

Maybe this isn’t true of everyone, maybe most people will be willing to drag themselves out of bed on Sunday to look at a computer screen. I doubt it somewhat.

Shane Richmond agrees and has suggested so, with four further reasons why the paid-for model won’t work, here.

On the topic of Sunday papers, it was with a heavy heart that I read the news about the possibility that the Observer would be replaced with a slimmed down version and mid-week magazine, or indeed closed. It seems a shame (to put it lightly) that the Scott Trust does not secure the future of both the Guardian and Observer and I hope it will not come to the point where the Sunday paper is lost entirely.

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One response to “Coffee and crumbs, why paid for content won’t work for The Sunday Times.

  1. Pingback: Sunday Times to publish on stand-alone, paid-for website « Fee or Free?

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