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Media rumblings: Observer, Sunday Times and Netimperative

Posted by Danny Whatmough on 4th August 2009

Sometimes, by pure coincidence, two events occur simultaneously, offering a wonderful opportunity to compare and contrast. This week two revelations have cast fresh perspectives on the state of the Sunday national newspaper scene.

Firstly, Guardian Media Group has admitted that it is considering closing The Observer – the UK’s oldest Sunday paper. The reason? Money:

“[Carolyn McCall] said Guardian Media Group, which also owns The Guardian newspaper, was grappling with both the recession and ‘structural change’ as advertising migrates online. Forecasting that advertising would not bounce back, she said that GMG would inevitably ‘be a smaller organisation’.”

Compare and contrast that to The Sunday Times, which this week has revealed that it is to launch its own standalone website. The reason? Money: the site will potentially sit behind a pay-wall.

The FT reports that “about a dozen journalists are being recruited to join the website, suggesting that it will generate new content during the week.”

It’s widely known that Murdoch believes that paid content is the way to go, but a report out today states that a third of European under-24s would refuse to pay for any kind of online content.

The problem is that we are now used to receiving our news online for free. And unless everyone starts adopting this model, it will be very hard for anyone to do it as the competition will be a click away.

Content may be king, but it seems that consumers are still unwilling to pay for it.

Elsewhere, it’s good to see that Netimperative has been resurrected from the dead today. Brand Republic reports that the site has been purchased by former Telegraph publisher Danny Meadows-Klue and will become part of the Digital Strategy Consulting group. So it’s not all bad news…

picture credit

Danny Whatmough