Rupert Murdoch's response has been to throw up paywalls around his titles. With subscription numbers for The Times yet to be published, many are dubious that charging people for news will work when it's freely available elsewhere.
So how else can news publishers monetise their content? Could the new wave of tablet PCs be the answer?
Should newspapers pin their hopes on the iPad?
It's no secret that the news industry is getting it's hope up over the iPad, and other tablet PCs. Murdoch has already stated he thinks the iPad is a 'game changer' and the future platform on which people will consume news.
40% of publishers now have iPad apps, including The Times, The Daily Express, The Sun and The Financial Times. Unlike the internet, owners of iPads and iPhones have been educated on paying for content. Newspaper publishers will be hoping this mindset doesn't change.
With its high resolution, touch sensitive display, the iPad certainly offers a lot of potential for innovating how people consume news. But whilst 3 million units in 3 months is impressive, it's still going to be a few years before there are enough tablet PCs around to plug the gap in draining newspaper revenue.
Is the answer more targeted content and micropayments?
Recently The Sun released an app specifically for its Bizarre section, featuring celebrity news, videos, a live gossip feed and celebrity guest tweeters. Reports suggest that prior to its launch the app attracted 1000s of pre-registrations.
If the app proves to be a success this could hint at the answer. Rather than asking people to pay for a subscription to an entire paper, publishers might have more success charging smaller amounts for the sections people actually want.
After all, headline news can always be found for free elsewhere. A newspaper's USP is its columnists, opinion pieces and insight.
Instead of throwing up paywalls to keep people out, maybe they should start working towards a micropayments system, enabling people to pick and choose which articles they want and are happy to pay for.
But David, what's this got to do with marketing?
If The Sun's Bizarre app proves to be a success then it demonstrates how people are more engaged with, and are prepared to pay for, content that's more closely aligned to their interests.
In the marketing world content that's more relevant and targeted will always attracts a higher response rate. I expect this would be true in the newspaper world too.
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