paywall John Gapper at The Financial Times has an interesting article about the paywalls that are going up all over, most notably at Rupert Murdoch’s properties. (Of course, the article itself is behind a paywall, so you might need to search it from Google or register an account to read it.)

He notes that Murdoch is hoping that the core audience of each paper will be willing to pay enough to support it. However, the problem Gapper sees is that Murdoch has overbroadened his audience—unlike in strictly business-focused papers like, say, The Financial Times, there isn’t enough content there to attract the sort of people who are willing to shell out big bucks to read it.

Business outlets such as the FT and the Journal have a big advantage in charging online because they are business-focused. If general publications are to match them, they must provide, as Stevie Spring, chief executive of Future Publishing, the magazine group, puts it, something “closer to must-have than nice-to-have”.

Given how many free alternatives there are, it doesn’t seem likely Murdoch’s paywalled gardens are going to do very well—especially since he will be blocking search engines from indexing them at all. I look forward to seeing how well that works for him.


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