Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Is it worth climbing the Times paywall?

I've finally climbed over the Murdoch paywall and handed over my debit card details for access to Times Online. Partly out of professional curiosity and partly out of loyalty to my old colleagues at TO who fear no-one will go to the site if they have to pay. Rightly as it turns out - according to the latest figures, they've lost two thirds of their traffic since shutting out the greedy readers who want everything for free.

But the big question has to be - is thetimes.co.uk worth paying for? I hate to say it but so far, the answer is no. I've been on the site several times today, looking mostly in vain for stories which I didn't read in this morning's print edition. The typeface is distractingly small and serif faces are difficult to read online. Quite a lot of the content is more than a few days old and there's little evidence of the sort of innovative multi-media story telling and hyperlinking that could bring in new readers or tempt existing ones to part with £8 a month.

Relaunches are hell, as I know from experience, and it's easy to carp from the sidelines. So I'll keep visiting... and hoping to be amazed.

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