The Financial Times is reporting that Telegraph Media Group is planning to introduce a charge for access to its online news content.
According to the report, the payment barrier could be brought in late next year and sources have told the FT that it will not be “an impregnable paywall like the Times” but most likely a metered system, as employed by the Financial Times itself.
A TMG spokesperson told the FT that no decisions have been made on the introduction of a paid-content model.
According to the published reports, circulation revenues at the group’s Associated Newspapers titles, which includes the Daily Mail, the Mail on Sunday and Metro, fell by an underlying two per cent while underlying advertising revenues were up seven per cent, said to have been driven by a “strong performance” from Metro.
Both the Daily Mail and Metro recorded their highest ever operating profit, the report adds.
DMGT’s regional arm Northcliffe recorded several declines, with underlying revenues down £16 million (six per cent), reported revenues have dropped by 8 per cent and advertising revenues were also down by 7 per cent.
Northcliffe: facing another tough year; UK advertising revenue in the first seven weeks down 7 per cent on last year, continuing year‐on‐year trend experienced in September (like‐for‐like decline of 8 per cent). Outlook for first quarter not expected to improve on this trend; will also be affected by higher newsprint costs; focus remains on reducing costs and new revenue opportunities.
Note: Underlying revenues are those adjusted for acquisitions and disposals made in the current and prior year.
Increases in customer publishing and digital revenue have helped magazine publisher Future get “back on track”, according to the company’s preliminary results for the year ending 30 September.
In the report, published today, Future claims that its overall revenues have declined by 1 per cent on last year, with net debt reduced by more than 50 per cent.
The publisher adds that its US business has returned to profit while customer publishing revenue has grown by 43 per cent in the last 12 months.
Advertising revenues declined by five per cent overall, but individually online advertising (which makes up 25 per cent of the advertising revenues) rose by eight per cent.
In the report Stevie Spring, Future’s chief executive said the results show the publisher is back on track.
We’ve returned our US business to profit – a key goal for the year. And made good progress against our strategic priorities – adapting and investing in our business to meet the needs of a rapidly changing content landscape.
Consumer confidence is still fragile on both sides of the Atlantic, so our outlook for 2011 must remain cautious even though we’ve seen an encouraging 5 per cent growth in the second half of 2010.
Using data from OpenlyLocal, Greenwich.co.uk publisher hyperlocal.co.uk has created a map showing the concentration of hyperlocal websites in the UK.
Hyperlocal may be a word that is too freely used: is a city-based website hyperlocal? Or should it be postcode- or street-based? Then again, why decide? Hyperlocal.co.uk’s map shows the huge range of ‘hyperlocal’ sites operating in the UK and where such local media is currently lacking.
While we’re on the subject of hyperlocal sites finding new commercial opportunities, it’s worth mentioning hyperlocal pioneer The Lichfield blog, which in partnership with a local printing co-operative Sabcat Printing has started selling T-shirts from an online shop – Viva LichVegas. It’s something Scottish website GreenerLeith does too – making pounds and publicity, and an interesting experiment in hyperlocal business models.
As paidContent:UK reports, Norwegian media group Schibsted has come up with what can only be described as a very original new revenue stream. The Aftenbladet publisher now owns 97 per cent of Swedish money lender Lendo.se.
Lendo visitors fill in a web application form to borrow up to SEK 350,000 (£31,770) at interest from 3.93 per cent. It’s about as far from the core of a newspaper business as you could imagine.
Politico is reporting that two democratic consultants have accused Arianna Huffington of stealing their idea for the Huffington Post.
Peter Daou and James Boyce charge that Huffington and partner Ken Lerer designed the website from a plan they had presented them, and in doing so, violated a handshake agreement to work together, according to a lawsuit to be filed in New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan.
Huffington has told Politico that the charge of stolen ideas is “a completely absurd, ludicrous supposition” from two men who she had rejected going into business with or hiring six years ago.
The business, a joint venture between Metro and Associated & Northcliffe Mobile and TV, will be run as a publishing division targeting 18-45-year-old urban professionals, paidContent reports.
…the DMGT freesheet Metro today launched its own app business, and will put out the first fruit of this labor tomorrow, a special edition of “Super Yum Yum: Puzzle Adventures” for the Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) app store, on sale for 59 pence ($0.94), with more titles to come.
It’s a wonderful new opportunity for all the brilliant editors and writers at the Daily Beast who have worked so hard to create the site’s success. Working at the warp-speed of a 24/7 news operation, we now add the versatility of being able to develop ideas and investigations that require a different narrative pace suited to the medium of print. And for Newsweek, the Daily Beast is a thriving frontline of breaking news and commentary that will raise the profile of the magazine’s bylines and quicken the pace of a great magazine’s revival.
‘Paywall thinking’, he suggests, may not be possible in a world where “the internet commodifies the business of newspapers”:
Over the last 15 years, many newspaper people have assumed continuity with the analog business model, which is to say they assumed that readers could eventually be persuaded or forced pay for digital editions. This in turn suggested that the failure of any given paywall was no evidence of anything other than the need to try again.
What is new about the Times’ paywall – what may in fact make it a watershed – isn’t strategy or implementation. What’s new is that it has launched as people in the news business are rethinking assumed continuity. It’s new because the people paying attention to it are now willing to regard the results as evidence of something. To the newspaper world, TimesSelect looked like an experiment. The Times and Sunday Times look like a referendum on the future.