Pay for archive football content online?

Continuing, certain brands are inevitably going to start charging for content. Of course there is a model for charging for specialist content as shown by the FT as well as the likes of the NMA, but this comes from the principle that people will pay for something if it’s unique which runs contrary to Rupert Murdoch’s model where he plans to charge for all content across his newspaper and broadcast brands all of which contain content that people can easily find somewhere else.

Other brands such as the Guardian and Telegraph have mooted (great word) the idea of “clubs” where most content is free but those who pay a subscription get access to exclusives, possibly divided by category such as sport or business. The problem with that is that all content was previously free, so what can media owners come up with that people will be prepared to pay for when they got it for nothing before? I am sure some will, but traffic would surely go down significantly.

It is a model that may work better for the Guardian which (aside from the struggling Independent) has the lowest readership of any UK national newspaper largely because of its political views.

In the US, the political spectrum of newspapers is even more restricted that the UK and as a result of both of these factors the Guardian gets a lot of traffic from English speakers at both home and abroad looking for a liberal view on news items, as well as more irreverent comment, that they can’t find anywhere else. This makes the Guardian a reasonably unique brand and as a result plenty of people use the site who don’t buy the paper making the most popular online newspaper site in the world.

Another factor is that as well as political bent, or maybe partly because of it, many Guardian users are young people and/or work in more creative industries (it certainly has the best media section of any paper) and are so more naturally predisposed to use the web. I am not sure the Telegraph’s, or indeed any other paper’s, audience would flock to their site in the same way for paid for content and comment that you could get for free somewhere else, let alone the brand being unique enough to attract users from abroad.

So what are the other options for papers?

The link contains a video of the new advert that the Trinity Mirror Group are putting out for their Mirror Football website, the first in a possible series of websites in specialist verticals, the next one rumoured to be a celebrity site under the ‘3am Girls’ brand.

Trinity Mirror’s CEO Sly Bailey has admitted that they may end up charging for some of the content on these sites, especially their “unique” football footage archive:

“The important thing for us is to develop the brand with the right content that engages a passionate audience, and therefore to have a diversified model that isn’t just about advertising. We think that is the next stage, and whether over time that gives you the opportunity to think about whether there are areas you can charge for, that’s an open discussion - but you have to create that content overall in order to have that option.”

But, again, why would you pay for something that you could previously get for free or that you can more or less get from somewhere else (i.e. You Tube)?


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