Time Warner CEO hints at online fees for magazines

May 29, 2009

(AP) -- One of the world's largest magazine publishers appears to be having second thoughts about giving away most of its articles on the Internet.

Time Warner Jeffrey Bewkes told an investor conference Friday that he doesn't think it makes much sense for to provide their content without a way to recover the production costs.

But Bewkes didn't say whether Time Warner's magazine group, which includes Time, People and Sports Illustrated, is considering charging fees for access to its Web sites.

Many publishers, particularly in the newspaper industry, are drawing up plans to charge Internet readers to help offset a steep decline in ad revenue.

Ad revenue in Time Warner's publishing division plunged 30 percent in the first quarter.

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5 / 5 (2) May 29, 2009
Let me make a prediction - charging fees will cut readership by at least 70%, and hence advertising revenue also drop. It won't solve the problem.
4 / 5 (1) May 29, 2009
No contest!
not rated yet May 30, 2009
It does depress me, when these large, well established companies feel that they are so big, they can continue to cling to turn of last century business models, applied to the newer, paradigm shifting technologies.

As I have said before, all that will happen is a handful of people will subscribe to these sites, rewrite the news that appears - likely in aggregate from several of them, to remove bias - and then post online for free, on ad supported sites.

With a far smaller staff, and negligible overheads, these companies will take 70% of the audience the big sites used to have, and will be viable models for advertising supported news for some years to come.

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