Is this the model for charging for online newspapers?

I recently argued that bundling or adding value was the most likely way Rupert Murdoch would succeed in charging for his newspapers online. And now I’ve spotted that the Times / Sunday Times are already doing that with their Culture section (apologies if you already knew this – first posted here).

Over at is Culture+, described as “an exclusive programme of arts and entertainment rewards for subscribers of The Times and The Sunday Times.”

By subscribing to the paper version of the Times and getting it delivered to your door each day, you get these benefits:

  • Free, exclusive Art Fund membership giving you free entry to hundreds of charging museums, galleries and historic properties across the UK and 50% off entry to many major exhibitions. (The normal price of this is over £30.)
  • Priority booking for the most talked about plays, shows and exhibitions.
  • See the latest films first, and free.
  • Free, discounted and two for one tickets to selected shows and events.
  • Competitions & free downloads.
  • Invitations to exclusive Culture+ events.
  • Discounts from Culture+ partners.
  • Regular e-mail updates featuring cultural picks and exclusive Culture+ offers
  • A membership card for use at events, as there may be other discounts and privileges for Culture+ members

The Guardian appears to be considering something similar.

Imagine you got a similar list of benefits when subscribing to an online version of those papers. Would people pay for that?

2 thoughts on “Is this the model for charging for online newspapers?

  1. Simon Clarke

    Yes – added value is the only way it can work. Micropayments on the oh-so tempting iTunes model are doomed to failure. But this is nothing new really – it’s just (clever, targeted) incentives just like the newspaper industry has been doing for years. Free Prince CD on the Daily Mail anyone?

    But, yes, it makes sense to target these at online subscribers to build loyalty and a predictable revenue base. The question now is will newspapers base their subscription drive on the printed paper and throw in the online subscription free, or will they make some attempt to differentiate the online offering – building up a separate online subscriber base to give it a separate identity with unique benefits…

  2. Pingback: Internet Marketing, Strategy & Technology Links – August 19, 2009 | Sazbean

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