Advertisers Bailing On Murdoch’s Paywalls As The Company Won’t Reveal How Many People See Ads

A few weeks back, we pointed to reports suggesting that Rupert Murdoch’s paywall experiments with The Times and Sunday Times in London were a disaster,

as nearly everyone — readers, journalists, advertisers and publicists — were bailing on the publications.

Soon after that, however, Murdoch’s News Corp. announced plans to also put the big UK tabloid News of the World behind a paywall, with some suggesting that James Murdoch (Rupert’s son, who is leading this effort) was seeing success with the other paywalls. However, the evidence on that is still lacking. Instead, we’re hearing more and more reports that suggest serious trouble for the Murdochs, father and son, as they double down on an economically dangerous strategy.

Simon Dumenco points us to a recent Bloomberg piece that quotes a guy from ad firm Starcom MediaVest, saying that they’ve cut their ad spend on the Times and Sunday Times by more than 50% because News Corp. won’t share with them traffic numbers:

“We wouldn’t put our money where we don’t know the numbers, just as you wouldn’t invest in a stock,” [Starcom’s Chris] Bailes said.

Separately, Bailes notes that, thanks to competition, there are better places to spend their money:

“I can go to the Guardian or CNN and get an audience… No one is indispensable.”

Of course, we were among the many, many voices that suggested James Murdoch brush up on his economics before pursuing this strategy. Now that he’s doubling down, I’d have to, once again, suggest that he update his economic analysis.




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