Wednesday, 7 August 2013


Hello. My name is Kostas Economides and I am a lecturer in the Department of Economics at the University of the South of England (USE for short). Well, actually that is not true really as the names of individuals and institutions in this blog have been changed to protect the innocent - and the guilty!

Continuing our discussions in the cafe about TV and Internet sports services we turned our attention to the new Sun+ subscription deal.

The recently appointed new editor of the Sun, David Dinsmore, has introduced the new online subscription service priced at £2 per week with the attraction of a full range of Premier League football clips available behind the paywall. Sun readers will also be able to access the service on a more ad hoc basis by collecting tokens from the printed version of the newspaper.

There is much interest as to whether this latest attempt to extract revenue from an online newspaper will fare better than some earlier cases. For example in 2010 when the Times and Sunday Times placed its web version behind a paywall it is estimated that web traffic fell by over 90% and that there was a considerable loss of revenue from advertising. Other publications such as the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times have moved much of their material behind paywalls, but they have also kept a certain amount of pages freely available too.

The Guardian has resisted the pressure to introduce a paywall but they have offered readers a full online subscription service which works out a lot cheaper than the cost of buying the printed version every day. They are clearly hoping that many readers will consider this a worthwhile deal. The Daily Mail has been very successful with its extended online services, focusing on celebrity stories. These have become particularly popular n the United Sates.

Dinsmore believes that the football clips will be particularly attractive to the 55% of Sun readers who are male.He puts some of the recent fall in sales of the Sun down to the increase in its cover price from 30p to 40p and he says that a £2 a week subscription will be a very attractive price.

Douglas McCabe of Enders Analysis believes that the Sun needs about 300,000 subscribers to create a sufficient revenue stream to pay for the new service (Source: The Guardian, 1/8/2013). It will be interesting to see how quickly it can achieve these numbers.

Now we hear that Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, has purchased the Washington Post.It will be interesting to see what his plans are for the newspaper.

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