News International’s paywall won’t work, says rival

Rupert Murdoch’s decision to erect paywalls around News International’s portfolio of newspapers will not work and goes against the grain of all that’s happening in media, said the Guardian News and Media’s Mark Finney.

Speaking at the Dubai Lynx today, Finney, who is GNM’s head of client sales, said: “We don’t think it will work. In fact, we can get benefits of scale from News International charging for content.

“We do not believe in asking people to pay for content on the point of desktop. It’s not in keeping with developments that are happening around the world at the moment, and we believe it goes against the grain of what’s happening digitally.”

Finney was echoing similar views expressed by Alan Rusbridger, editor-in-chief of UK newspaper The Guardian, who last month described Murdoch’s decision to erect paywalls as “completely antithetical to the way everything is going”. In August last year, Murdoch announced that all News International titles, which include The Times and News of the World, would begin to charge for access to online content by this summer. The Times is expected to begin charging in May.

Finney added, however, that GNM could change its mind if it was proven wrong. “It won’t work, but if it does work obviously we reserve the right to change our thoughts at the last possible minute and start charging for content because we are, after all, interested in continuing to exist,” he said.

 GNM reported an $85 million pre-tax loss last year.


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