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Ringing the Changes: Newspapers Look to Reverse Fortunes

By: NMK Created on: April 20th, 2009
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Influential media mogul Rupert Murdoch recently called for newspapers to start charging for online content to offset the loss of ad revenue. New Media Knowledge took at look at how one major European news outlet is changing its model to generate income.

Rupert Murdoch, the head of News Corporation, has urged newspapers to start charging for content as advertising revenues for print organs continues to plummet. Murdoch owns the Wall Street Journal, one of the few national newspapers that charges its readers for content.

Murdoch believes that people have been "used to reading everything on the Net for free, and that's going to have to change."

Pandora’s Box

For social networking consultant William Buist it may already be too late to return to charging for content.

“I suspect that the desire to charge for content is the old model and too many people are providing content free for it to work. Publishers who think about how to leverage the relationship with the customer first need to build a relationship. A paid model makes this much harder,” he said.

If newspapers struggle to find an appetite to charge for online content, how can they increase reach and revenue? NMK looked to the Netherlands for an example of a major European national title that is successfully reaching new markets and increasing its revenue-generating potential after launching a mobile offering.

Telegraaf Road

De Telegraaf is a leading Dutch daily newspaper and launched a mobile site two years ago to enable its readers to have constant access wherever they are to news, weather, traffic, sport and live financial market updates.

detelegraaf

The uptake of the site has been impressive, largely due to the availability of better devices on the market and higher speeds, according to Service2Media, the platform-as-a-service provider behind the platform. In its second year, traffic to De Telegraaf’s mobile site grew by 100 per cent. It now reaches 170,000 unique visitors per month with 5.6 million page views.

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