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Daily Mail explains why it plans to stay free online

It’s not often that I have myself in agreement with The Daily Mail. But it made a good case for staying free on the web in its presentation to shareholders at an investor day on Monday 19 April.

The slides of the day provide an outline of the publisher’s strategy. Among the key points on charging for its services:

  • “Readers will not pay to consume general news on the web.”
  • “All news has traditionally been free – except print.”
  • “People pay for the convenience of print in recognition of the special cost of production and delivery of a tangible product and because they purchase it whole.”
  • “Which is why they will also pay for news on mobile devices.”
  • “We will also experiment with niche paid-for web content.
Daily Mail's dubious claim about NHS dentistry
Image by engineroomblog via Flickr

The Mail acknowledges that the reason people pay for a newspaper is not because they are comfortable with paying for the news.

Rather, the newspaper provides a convenient package which offers a wide range of items of interest to many.

This includes such non-news products such as horoscopes, crosswords and Sudoku.

The problem for print isn’t getting people to pay for the news online, but rather the unbundling online of news package known as the newspaper.

The Daily Mail’s strategy is looking at ways of providing service through new products and devices.

What it is selling isn’t the news, but rather convenience.

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