A publication of the World Editors Forum


Fri - 22.09.2017

Sunday Times to go it alone with standalone website

Sunday Times to go it alone with standalone website

According to an article in today's Guardian Media, the Sunday Times is planning to launch its own standalone website and is even considering introducing a paywall.

Publisher News International is a subdivision of News Corp headed by Rupert Murdoch. Murdoch has expressed his desire - to see his newspapers based around the world to follow the example of the Wall Street Journal by charging readers for content - on numerous occasions.

One undisclosed source told the Guardian the launch of the Sunday Times website could take place as early as within the next three months, although this was contradicted by another, who said that given there were many issues still outstanding, it would be unlikely to occur before the end of the year.

One such remaining issue is how to go about charging readers. The newspaper is still undecided as to whether it should set up payment on a subscription basis or introduce a system of micropayments. What is clear is that the Sunday Times has no plans to charge existing customers who hold a subscription - they will be able to access the site at no additional charge.

Last month, Murdoch hinted at the possibility of the Times Online charging for content. He said:" You can expect to see something in the next 12 months. We are planning to introduce a pay model across all our properties but we will test it first on some of our stronger properties."

Meanwhile, Sunday Times editor, John Witherow, is reportedly in favour of the move and is taking a key role in devising a suitable model.

Currently, the Times titles, including the Sunday edition, are merged together on the Web for the sake of attracting large numbers of people to the one site. Most of the UK's quality newspapers operate in a similar vein and include the Guardian, Telegraph and Independent, which currently house both their weekday and weekend editions under the one same virtual roof. Given the popularity of weekend editions, then, a new standalone site is likely to affect the traffic of the original. Although, it is possible that if News International gets the balance between charging and offering content free right, the traffic of the two different sites combined, could turn out to be greater in the long run.

Murdoch's envision of a world where newspapers refrain giving content away for free seems to slowly be taking place. Philly.com owner, Brian Tierney, recently disclosed on the Fox News network that his website will probably introduce its own paywall by the end of the year.

Still, the number of newspaper websites currently available for free by far outstrip those only accessible after having paid a fee. The UK press is expected to follow the Sunday Times with interest and if the gamble does indeed pay off, who's to say that others will not follow?

Source: Guardian.co.uk



Soraya Kishtwari


2009-06-03 10:35

The World Editors Forum is the organization within the World Association of Newspapers devoted to newspaper editors worldwide. The Editors Weblog (www.editorsweblog.org), launched in January 2004, is a WEF initiative designed to facilitate the diffusion of information relevant to newspapers and their editors.

© 2015 WAN-IFRA - World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers

Footer Navigation