Murdoch retreats on Sun’s pay wall

murdochRupert Murdoch’s flag-ship rag the Sun has given up on the idea of making money from internet paywalls.

It appears that the Current Bun’s readers could not be bothered paying for the internet version and there was just not enough interest.

The online subscription was introduced in 2013 and was the only one to be used by a British tabloid, and designed to rejuvenate the paper. It didn’t of course.

Getting rid of the paywall is the first strategic change from Rebekah Brooks since she returned to oversee the Current Bun and the Times after taking four years off to fight a court case where she was accused of criminal phone hacking. She was later cleared after jury accepted her defense that she didn’t know anything.

“I have every confidence that this digital evolution will ensure that the unique space the Sun occupies in British culture will be preserved – and enhanced,” Brooks said in a note to staff.

The website will be free to read from November 30, although some paid-for products will be retained.

The paper’s implicit admission that people were not willing to pay online for its journalism comes as the media industry is divided over whether paywalls or online advertising can sort out declining money from print revenue.

The only papers that have made a success of online paywalls are financial orientated rags like the FT, and the Wall Street Journal. The Times of London does a little better and will keep the paywall.

In September it had 1.1 million unique browsers a day, according to ABC data, far behind the Daily Mail on 13.4 million and the Mirror Group titles on 3.9 million.