One year till 'almost all' papers charge for online content says FT editor

LONDON - Lionel Barber, the editor of the Financial Times, expects almost all newspapers to begin charging for their online content within a year, echoing News Corp's Rupert Murdoch's recent prediction.

Speaking at a Media Standards Trust event yesterday, Barber said the industry still needs to figure out a way to charge readers without turning them away, whether through a per-article basis, or subscription-based models.

Barber said: "How these online payment models work and how much revenue they can generate is still up in the air.

"But I confidently predict that within the next 12 months, almost all news organisations will be charging for content."

Murdoch said much the same thing in May when revealing that his News Corporation websites will begin charging for access within a year.

This month, the New York Times decided it would move ahead with its plan to charge for online content after proposing the idea to readers through a survey, asking: "How likely would you be to pay a $2.50 monthly fee -- which would be a 50% discount for home delivery subscribers -- for continued, unlimited access to"

Access to the New York Times website is currently free, unlike News Corp's the Wall Street Journal, and the Financial Times, which offer some free content, but charge for premium access.