News Corp is experimenting with charging for online news. The Times has a paywall, and all of their content has disappeared behind it. Soon The Australian will have a paywall, and in ostensible emulation of the WSJ and FT model about half of their content will disappear behind that too. Next up is an iPad-only "newspaper" conceived by Murdoch and Jobs, the Daily, which will cost just $0.99 (£0.62) a week.
This latest pricing experiment smacks of desperation - of the plaintive cry "surely to god there must still be a sum of money so utterly infinitesimal that someone will pay it"? If the Indy's new i looked pretty cheap at 20p a day for a print edition, hiring 100 journalists to put out a newspaper for about 10p a day will surely test the limits of that theory.
Of course, the bad news is that the next question is "compared to what"? 10p a day is very cheap, compared to the print edition of the Times. But it's 10p more than any other news website, and all of them are equally available on the iPad merely by going online. Unless the Daily is going to offer something new and unique that the combined efforts of the BBC, Guardian, HuffPo, NYT, WaPo and every blogger in the world does not, that's 10p that no-one needs to spend. Sure, it's good to test things out. Hats off to Jobs and Murdoch for giving it a whirl. But I'm struggling to see what's so different about the Daily that it's 10p a day better than a million other things.
(Photo from World Economic Forum on Flickr)