Murdoch’s tabloid Sun scraps paywall


The scrapping of the online subscription, introduced in 2013, marks the failure of the Sun to carve out a niche online, unlike its fierce rival the Daily Mail, which boasts one of the most popular websites in the world.

The paper’s implicit admission that people were not willing to pay online for its brand of journalism comes as the media industry is divided over whether paywalls or online advertising are the remedy to the sector’s struggles at a time of declining print revenue.

Newspapers that have made a success of online paywalls include the Financial Times, the New York Times and Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal and the Times of

In September it had 1.1 million unique browsers a day, according to ABC data, far behind the Daily Mail on 13.4 million and the Mirror Group titles on 3.9 million. Actual sales of the Sun newspaper fell by 34 per cent in Brooks’ absence.

Reality check: It’s hard to charge for information on the Internet for the same reasons as it is hard to charge for seawater in the ocean.

As I noted while teaching a recent workshop, the currency of the Internet is time, not information:

1. The internet reverses the values of time vs. information. People are busier now; we lack four hours to read a book whose critical points could be made in four paragraphs. And we may find those ideas quickly anyway, via a search. Thus, to gain regular readers, the blogger [or any medium] must post often enough, on-topic enough, to justify the ten minutes the reader can spend before duty calls. … More.

The papers that offer financial information can charge because it’s not just “information,” any more than a medical consult is just information. Besides which, for the people with serious bucks to invest, the money rag is a negligible writeoff.

But how much will we pay to find out how awful that starlet’s face job turned out?

No, I didn’t think so. That kind of thing is always free somewhere.

I still call that the legacy MSM will continue to look for a bailout from progressive government, in return for co-operation, and possibly suppression of competition. Not much else would help them.

  • T.C.

    BCF doesn’t post enough stuff. Honest. I experience a form of withdrawal when I come to the end of your daily posts. The content of every other media source pales in comparison.

  • Jay Currie

    If newspapers actually provided “information” rather than opinion resting on a few well chosen “facts” I might be more interested.

    To take an example, with a couple of exceptions, every newspaper story on climate change assumes that the “science” is correct, that the 97% consensus is real and that cutting CO2 in the West will make a difference. These assumptions are never challenged, never investigated, never run by people who might have a different perspective. So why would I bother reading this sort of one sided journalism?

    The same can be said about the reporting of the “refugee” crisis or Islam or a host of other issues. There is no reporting, just mindless regurgitation of left/lib talking points. I can find out what the CBC or the Globe and Mail will say about something by reading the NYT and I can find out the NYT’s take by reading the Guardian. What I can’t get is anything like objective journalism or even a mild surprise as when a journalist asks a hard question to a lefty politico.

    So why bother?

    • dance…dancetotheradio

      Same thing happens on the radio with stations like CJOB.

  • Norman_In_New_York

    On the Sun, you can get today’s Page 3 for free, but you have to subscribe for previous issues.