Friday, 4 December 2009


there's been a lot of chatter recently about NewsCorp not wanting it's content plundered by google etc etc and Murdoch's threat to erect paywalls to restrict content to subscribers.

Well, in our typical anglophone arrogance we're ignoring what is happeening elsewhere. French language newspapers are also under threat and reacting in equally incoherent ways.

This morning, I was looking for an update on the Paris museums strike. Because I'm a left leaning liberal I went immediately to liberation, typed in my search terms, found the article, found it was restricted to subscribers, and invited to sign up for EUR12 per month package including internet access and delivery of the printed paper at the weekend - mes amis - un peu de realite, je habite en Australie!

So I went to Le Monde, found the article I wanted and retweeted it.

The point being Le Monde makes its content free to casual users and Liberation does not, and that in aggregate means that Le Monde gets more contacts and can sell more online ads, and even might sell the odd extra copy now and then. And they probably don't lose that much by it.

Liberation doesn't get any of that. In fact I guess it drives people who might also have bought the printed paper on a one off basis away.

And of course there's a halfway house such as shown by the New York Times which tries to promote a reader community so that the idea that the paper is worth buying spreads virally.

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