July 19, 2010
How’s that going? Thinly sourced, but it’s from Michael Wolff — Newser founder, Vanity Fair media columnist and biographer of Rudolph Murdoch:
My sources say that not only is nobody subscribing to the website, but subscribers to the paper itself–who have free access to the site–are not going beyond the registration page. It’s an empty world.
The wider implications of this emptiness are only just starting to become clear. A Murdoch and Fleet Street veteran with whom I’ve been corresponding about the paywall reported to me on his recent conversation with an A-list entertainment publicist: “What was really interesting to me was that this person volunteered a blinding realization. ‘Why would I get any of my clients to talk to the Times or the Sunday Times if they are behind a paywall? Who can see it? I can’t even share a link and they aren’t on search. It’s as though their writers don’t exist anymore.’”
Bloomberg reported last month (Murdoch Offers Freebies in Pursuit of Paywall Readers) that the drop in readers was expected.
The day the wall went up, John Crace, blogging for the rival Guardian, greeted refugees with A warm welcome to guardian.co.uk for all former readers of the Times.
Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger has no plans to follow suit, according to Editor’s Weblog (Guardian’s Alan Rusbridger on why his paper will remain free online). “It removes you from the way people the world over now connect with each other. You cannot control distribution or create scarcity without becoming isolated from this new networked world.”
This article was posted: Monday, July 19, 2010 at 4:11 am