Wednesday, September 26, 2012

News Corp. to allow Google to display first sentences of articles in its search results, easing solid paywall policy

You can't live them, you can't live without them. That is what News Corp. seems to be acknowledging with its decision to reverse course and allow Google to display a preview of articles in its search results.

For Rupert Murdoch it must be a somewhat humiliating admission that in today's media world it is impossible to pretend that newspapers don't need companies like Google in order to attract new readers.

"We live in such an interconnected world that the amplifier effect of the modern media is such that no good story, no interesting piece of commentary is going to be lost – in fact quite the opposite," Times editor James Harding is quoted as saying in The Guardian this morning.

With the change web readers will be able to see the first few sentences of Times and Sunday Times articles, but will still see a notice that they will have to subscribe to read the entire piece.

The paper charges £4 per week for a digital subscription, while offering the first three months at £2 a week.

While most newspaper have chosen to employ a metered paywall approach, where readers can access content through links and search engine results, at least up to a certain level of read articles, News Corp. has put up a solid paywall, forcing all non-subscribers to pay immediately.

The new policy is a crack in the system but the question is whether this move is enough of a compromise to improve the performance of the company's websites.