Google decision could end free online content

LONDON - Google's agreement to improve publishers' ability to limit access to their content is likely to spark a fresh search for ways to make online news pay.

The changes mean publishers can impose a limit of five articles to be accessed from a computer on any one day.

Once  the fifth article has been viewed, a pay wall will prevent further access with the offer of an option to subscribe.

This supports other functions already in place such as the ability to limit access to the first paragraph of an article.

However, charging for online content could cause difficulties for publishers and advertisers, as imposing a pay wall may result in a drastic drop in website traffic.

Rob Lynam, head of national press trading at media agency Mediaedge:cia, insists changes need to be made. 'There is a twin problem - traditional revenue from circulation and cover price is falling, coupled with declining ad revenue,' he says. 'This needs to be made sustainable or the whole thing is going to collapse.'

The main concern for the industry is the potential closure of publications that fail to adapt to the changing landscape by imposing a sustainable funding model. This would have a knock-on effect on advertisers, which will be faced with fewer publishers demanding more for their ad space.

'Digitalisation is happening and advertisers will have to get on board,' says Vanessa Clifford, head of press at media network MindShare. 'It's the speed of the changes that is the only question.'

Publishers are also looking to capitalise on the success of digital e-readers, with Rupert Murdoch's News Corp set to launch a joint venture with Time Inc, Hearst, Conde Nast and Meredith to create a portal for their combined content.

'Potentially people will stop buying hard-copy newspapers and magazines but that doesn't matter,' adds Clifford. 'It is the content that makes a media brand. The paper is just the delivery mechanism.'

News Corp has taken a lead in seeking an end to the 'free' culture online. Joining with other publishers allows it share some of the risks. Advertisers will have to adapt to fresh ways of thinking online. The more quickly they do so, the greater the influence they will have over these developments.

 

 

Discussion

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus
Brand Republic Jobs

subscribe now

Latest

Lynx tells men not to leave love to fate
HBO captures awkwardness of watching sex scenes with parents
Primark to open first US stores with Boston chosen as flagship location
Marketing spend on the up but a reality check is needed before celebrating
Top 10 ads of the week: Jackpotjoy and BT Broadband fend off Kevin Bacon
Lidl beats Tesco to 10m Facebook fans
Center Parcs ad banned for encouraging parents to take kids out of school
Coca-Cola, Cadbury and Amazon named top brands for targeting youth market
Leaked document shows Nokia to be rebranded as Microsoft Mobile
Nike lays-off hardware staff in move that casts doubt on future of FuelBand
Greenpeace says save the bees or humans will die
What brands need to know about changes to VAT and online downloads in 2015
Jimmy Savile victims urged to claim compensation in new ad campaign
UKIP launches biggest  ad campaign and stirs up 'racist' accusations
Apple boss Tim Cook provides voiceover on ad touting firm's renewed green commitments
John Lewis walks consumers through its history to celebrate 150 years of business
Waitrose boosts content strategy with 'Weekend Kitchen with Waitrose' C4 tie-up
Hottest virals: Cute puppies star in Pedigree ad, plus Idris Elba and Fruyo
Amnesty International burns candles to illuminate new hope
Toyota achieves the impossible by calming angry Roman drivers
Tom of Finland's 'homoerotic' drawings made into stamps
YouTube reveals user habits to appeal to 'older' marketers
Ex-M&S marketing chief Steven Sharp consulting at WPP
Wolff Olins reveals new CEO after Apple poaches Karl Heiselman
Glasgow offers £30,000 prize to best digital idea for 2014 Commonwealth Games
Google's revenues surge but shares drop as it grapples with transition to mobile
Facebook beats Twitter to most 'marketing friendly' social media site crown, says DMA
Fableists believe children like Finn should be outdoors enjoying life
Homebase, Baileys and Camelot join the line-up at Media360
MasterCard renews Rugby World Cup sponsorship to push cashless message