Rupert Murdoch's News Corp has announced that it will soon stop all it's free online content in favour of a system of pay per view system allowing users to read articles for as little as 5 pence.
Mr Murdoch said "The digital revolution has opened many new and inexpensive methods of distribution, but it has not made content free. Accordingly, we intend to charge for all our news websites. I believe that if we are successful, we will be followed by other media. Quality journalism is not cheap, and an industry that gives away its content is simply cannibalising its ability to produce good reporting"
The corporation is looking for additional revenue streams after recently announcing big losses. They posted £2 billion loss for first half of 2009, a period which chief executive Rupert Murdoch said was "the most difficult in recent history".
News Corp owns the Times and Sun newspapers in the UK and the New York Post and Wall Street Journal in the US. This is system will be brought in across all their online versions. The Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times already charge for their content so this change will merely see the policy rolled out across the rest of the network.
Analysts are now waiting to see if other new outlets will follow suit. Whilst rival publications are eager to highlight News Corps travails they are also not ruling out a similar model.
The Guardian ran the following piece : "Who made the rule that everything on the internet should be free? It's the question that beleaguered media executives around the world are have been muttering to themselves for months now.
The only certain answer is that it was none of them, because when the decisions about internet strategy were being made in their organisations, none of the most senior bosses were particularly interested.
Now, hit by the double whammy of a cyclical advertising downturn and huge structural change, the news business is going through the same pain that afflicted the music industry. After years of hoping the problem would go away, news organisations are desperately reaching for the same strategy adopted by the music bosses: shutting the paid-for door after the free horse has long since bolted."