Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Times Online to reap rewards of user access to its archive

In a curious case of one newspaper reporting on the business model of another, the Guardian records that the highly popular Times Online is to charge for access to its hitherto free online archive service. The change, in the form of a 'paywall', comes in with effect from this Thursday.

Times Online will erect a paywall in front of its fledgling online archive service from Thursday, now that it appears that a solid user base has developed. Access rates are said to be £4.95 per day, £14.95 per month or £74.95 per year. Featured front page items will remain free.

Times Online has had to choose between monetising its extensive archive by opening pages for free and relying on advertising, or relying on traditional business-to-business revenues from libraries. The solution adopted means that sites can preserve their existing contracts with library firms, while keeping the service available to consumers; it is likely to be seen as a more stable revenue stream in the current economic climate.

The archive itself goes back to 1785 and is likely to contain a sizeable proportion of works in respect of which Times Online is not the copyright owner and has no right to store or control.

No comments: