BBC BLOGS - Newsnight: Paul Mason
« Previous | Main | Next »

Information: Have you ever paid for it?

Post categories:

Paul Mason | 20:44 UK time, Monday, 23 November 2009

Right now loads of media execs, from Rupert Murdoch to Alan Rusbridger, are trying to answer three basic questions: a) which readers will pay for online content; b) which content; c) how will they charge them? There is a fourth question which I will ignore for now, which is, how does the print business survive once questions a-c are answered.

Here's my own personal take on this from my own behaviour. For demographic geeks I am a 49-year-old white male who reads mainly nonfiction, has an iPod full of classical music, a Twitter and Facebook account.

I buy the Guardian and the Telegraph every day in hardcopy and the FT on certain days (see below). I buy the Speccie, the Statesman and the Economist every week and Private Eye religiously. I was the first UK TV journalist to report from inside Second Life, though my SL character (Paul Mason) has not strutted his stuff for many a year.

My LinkedIn account is moribund. I watch very little on TV apart from sport, programmes about animals or repairing tanks, and of course The Thick of It.

Here's the content I regularly buy on the internet.

1) Books. I buy nearly all my books from Amazon and Abebooks. When I am writing a book or a major project I tend to actually buy rather than go to the library since the British Library is full of teenagers chatting and reading Heat magazine. I don't buy e-books but watch this space once I get a Kindle. Probable monthly spend right now online on books = £30.

2) Music. It took me a while to stop buying CDs as iTunes is still not comprehensive for classical music and above all you need to have Opera librettoes and I have learned a lot from the little CD booklets that you can never read anywhere else. However I have not bought a CD for at least 12 months (except a Chinese migrant workers folksong CD in Beijing). Incidentally this is the new role of CDs - you buy them on trips to "analogue places" where you know you will never get the music online. Monthly spend on iTunes - probably £10 a month max, mostly from iTunes but also e-Music: but remember I have 3x decades worth of CDs on my iPod.

3) Academic articles. I am a sucker for these. Some I buy for work - the BBC's access to academic firewalled sites is remarkably scant - and some I buy for my non-work research projects. Am nearly always disappointed by the content since the sneaky info-monopolists will never tell you what is in the article before you buy it. Still, I know more than I need to about the metallurgy of Neodymium magnets. Probably spend about £12 per article, three or four times a year.

4) Newspaper archive articles. Via the BBC I have comprehensive access to recent press cuttings. But for history writing etc the New York Times and Wall Street Journal etc are precious. I think nothing of shelling out a few dollars on an account of former Fort Issy commander Edmund Megy decking a New York journalist at a "communisic banquet" on Bleecker Street in the 1870s. I will gladly go on doing this at the cost of a few dollars a time if I have to.

5) Online newspapers. Zilch. Nada. I think the only things you HAVE to read in newspapers are the following:
a) Brilliant exclusives that have not been picked up anywhere else - and that includes still photography which is still a major plus and not properly bigfooted by any broadcast website
b) Brilliant analysis pieces that your peers have read and will form the basis of watercooler discussions among your peers/contacts
c) Something that is going to give me competitive advantage in my job. Nouriel Roubini's RGE Monitor falls firmly into this category but if I actually had to pay for full access, I could not afford it.

Thus far not a single UK newspaper produces any of these things enough for me to want to pay online for them. I read every op-ed by Paul Krugman and Martin Wolf. Krugman is free on the NYT; Wolf I buy on a pink piece of paper that flaps a lot and soaks up coffee. I almost immediately bin the Companies and Markets section of the FT but keep the front bit, ripping out Martin's bit and stuffing it in my pocket. Usually, as an added bonus for my £2, there is more than just Martin Wolf: so I feel I have got a bargain. I would probably pay £2 per article for Martin Wolf online - even if Martin occasionally does not fire on all cylinders I have to read him to be able to have a sensible conversation with, say, the global chairman of a major bank, should I run into him. I should think there is an equivalent in any profession, so this is a scaleable model.

6) Uber specialist bulletins. I will usually get away with a free trial on something like RGE Monitor or Metal Pages. But if not I will pay per article rather than subscribe since these info-sources are not regularly essential.

7) The Internet. It should be borne in mind even as I surf the Guardian website or Huffpo "for free", that I am paying about £25 a month for broadband. I would probably pay more for the same service as long as it broke down less and was more secure and faster. It is still a marvel of modern business life that nearly every broadband provider on Earth has tried and failed to charge for content as well.

8) Tickets: Since I have included books I should add that my highest expenditure online for offline "information" is for theatre tickets. Obviously the tickets are a commodity but the plays/operas/musicals are content. This seems to be well in excess of £50 everytime I fork out. And that is too often for my own good.

Now to the answer to the big three questions at the top and what it means for those trying to charge for content.

The great complicating factor, as Arianna Huffington has pointed out, is that news has become "social". People want to be able to share it; its distribution models are based on sharing; so put it behind a paywall and the sharing dies. For example if I want to share with you a Youtube video it's easy. Once I want to share Martin Wolf's latest missive, difficult.

In addition, the new emperors of firewall city will not only charge. They are working out ways to prevent us from finding paid-for content on search engines like Google. News International and Microsoft are reported to be working on de-indexing content from Google.

OK my provisional answer is:

a) Who: nobody will pay for news. Only specialist news content providers will make a go of charging for news. News is commoditised. I know none of this is new but I have a new certainty about it, having thought it through. But anybody - and not just middle class high value types - will pay for content that is of high value to them.

b) What: they will pay for music, books and specialist articles; increasingly for video once watching it on a computer makes sense; also for participation in niche online games. They will pay for specialist editorial content but not news.

c) How: The charging will have to incorporate an element of BOTH micropayment AND shareability; as per iTunes vouchers or sending your mate a book via Amazon. I suspect micropayment will win out, and what would be really cool would be able to pre-pay for somebody else's access as in: look here's the clip of Gene Kelly and Rita Hayworth with a style access code that takes you right through the pay wall. Excluding your content from searchablity AND at the same time erecting a paywall sounds a bit like taking yourself out of the phone directory and for good measure having your landline disconnected.

The massive, still not properly understood, conclusion to this is that there is going to be a smaller news economy. Much smaller. News is going to have to be produced for its social value, by organisations that make their money out of selling something else. The big anomaly at present is that those who do sell that something else online - above all Google - do not pay for the news. This will probably have to change.

Anyway, discuss, bearing in mind I am the man who predicted the Internet would kill 24-hour rolling news.


  • Comment number 1.

    "nobody will pay for news."

    Great! I'm guessing my £139.50 rebate cheque must be in the post

  • Comment number 2.

    Day-to-day news can be got from many sources; I'm sure some will remain free whatever happens.

    If I had to pay for online news I'd probably go back to paying for an occasional newspaper, but only an 'occasional' newspaper, as I find I little time other than scan headlines and only read a few articles of particular interest.

    What would I pay for? Specialist news. e.g. I visit Sciencedaily every day (I hope they not reading this.) and value it.
    I'd also pay for the occasional article from Nature or Science etc if it really interested me.

    This is why I also think the niche magazine market (hard print) is still thriving, as a visit to any W.H. Smith store demonstrates.

    Like Paul most of my reading is non-fiction (and I read a lot) and I still value books above all else for in-depth information and discussion of ideas.
    My library service is excellent, I take advantage of inter-library loans (including from the British Library) and also buy from Amazon; particularly having discovered they sell second hand books that can be in 'as new' condition.

    Paying for video? Hmm. I use Youtube quite a lot for music, movie trailers and instructional videos etc (as well as 'time wasting'), but am not sure I'd pay for it.
    I might not bother upgrading to digital when analogue TV is switched off, but am not sure I'd pay an iPlayer etc subscription as I watch so little, on PC or TV. (Perhaps just for Attenborough and history programmes etc - specialist content.)

    BTW. I agree about the under-use of photography on the web. The Telegraph's site has a good photography section for example:
    but, it stands out by not having much competition.
    (And by having some wonderful slideshows. e.g.)

    I'm unconvinced that news has become wholly social; it has to some extent (e.g. my links above), but like my book choices (and Paul's music choices) perhaps for all of us it has also become much more personal. I can go to one site for one topic, to another for another and so on.
    People like having their own private hinterland that they nourish and realize that not all their friends share their interests and passions. The web can provide deeply personal spaces too. Don't underestimate the importance of that too.

    PS. I also recognise that I don't represent the majority of the population.

  • Comment number 3.

    What value (social or otherwise) does the modern news have?

    News must be percieved as being useful to the reader in order to have value they will pay for.

    Most news nowadays is titilation masquerading as something 'useful'.

    In the past news that the vikings were coming to attack your settlement was incredibly useful.

    Nowadays news is mostly entertainment.

    The really useful stuff never gets told.

  • Comment number 4.

    Don't quite see how anyone is going to prevent mass dissemination of material when it's just a case of cut and paste. Bloggers reproduce whole FT articles every day of the week.

    They'd be far better off just shutting down their web operations altogether. At least then the people who really want to read it will go out and buy the paper.

  • Comment number 5.

    The FT reports that Microsoft has had discussions with News Corporation over a plan that would involve Microsoft paying News Corp to "de-index" its news websites from the Google search engine while still being indexed by Microsoft's Bing search engine. The FT's report mentions that Microsoft has made similar proposals to other online publishers.

    The tech writer Bob Cringely has speculated that the anticipated Apple tablet computer (iTablet?) will be some form of e-reader similar to Amazon's Kindle, but with a colour display supporting animation and video. Apple has apparently been talking to publishers who could produce device-specific content paid for using a micropayment system similar to iTunes. So in future we may see tablet versions of online newspapers with certain content being paid for by the reader.

  • Comment number 6.

    I have a rather very similar profile to Paul but I still like cd's and can't go to theatre because there provision for the deaf are dire. Here in Manchester there is a lot free classical music and the the rest is fairly inexpensive. I buy about the same amount of books but gave up on the inter library loans in Manchester.
    Unlike Paul I do 'need' access to academic articles. Ten years ago you simply singed up to a University Library as an external reader.... now the rapacious publishers have effectively closed the academy but charging £15-£30 an article on the web for which neither the author nor the university were he is based have been paid, and both the latter are supported by public money. Since you need access to 100 or so articles to do serious work it is now impossible.
    The disclosure that the BBC does not have access explains a lot!!

    I have a sub to the online FT. and buy the Independent, Saturday Guardian and Observer. Most of these are thrown away. I occasionally consult the others on line. but I would not pay per item for the same reason Paul find buying articles a pig in poke.

    I am puzzled as to why people might read the red tops on line. May be less clothes on the page three girl .... no a vid of the page three girl would help.

  • Comment number 7.

    I'm a similar if not slightly younger demographic! Re : music, I use Spotify and buy the odd CD if inclined. I use TimesOnline as my central source of news because it offers a wide breadth of news information across areas of interest.Reuters UK online is good for business, but I get led there from Google Finance usually. I buy paper copies on the weekend for differing opinions on the news ( not just for 'news')and to get some downtime ( cant see paper copies disappearing for the leisure read for my generation or others except the current younger cyber-generation). I like opinions as well as having the facts, hence I read your blog. I tap into district news providers online and for business I have a multitude of online bulletins to keep me savvy in my sectors, or others of topical interest. Dont pay for anything. If I trawl an important issue for me in a headline pay-for-view specialist bulletin, I usually find the same information elsewhere for free.

    Books, tickets etc. I'm like you.

    See it differently from you. If I was to have to pay for an online news source I would only chose a comprehensive and generally trustworthy organisation. If news portals were to charge, they would have to up their game and excel to attract my dosh.

  • Comment number 8.

    Cross Fertilized Synthetic Hybrid:

    Both free and paid for, online and paper media - for me reading is a hyperlink cascade of interest.

    The following are sources:

    'free' online sources -beeb,blogs,newsites....
    paid for - -basic subsciption - Alphaville, Tett, Wolf, Buitner...
    books - amazon because it's so searchable - cheaper used copies too.
    Scibd - online academic source very searchable.
    Oxfam bookshop - serendipity rules - read and redonate.
    Scroogle - search without spam.

    So newscorp and Microsoft want to disappear up each others fundaments? - the space would be filled by competitors in milliseconds.

  • Comment number 9.

    It never ceases to amaze me that Rupert Murdoch who has done more than anyone since the invention of the printing press to trivialise the printed news is now seeking to restrict the dissemination of his infantile rubbish on-line. If you don't buy his papers why on earth would you want to pay to view his over-opinionated tat and tripe over the internet?

    In my view if there was still proper investigative journalism of a high standard then people would pay to see it on the internet. However, since little of that is produced these days the prospect of that happening is about zilch.

    It is quiet apparent that the media has not absorbed the idea that the internet is another means of communicating and so it must change the nature of its game. For what it is worth, in my commercial experience people will pay and pay well for good quality: which is why Murdoch is having so much difficulty with this project.

  • Comment number 10.

    ...the British Library is full of teenagers chatting and reading Heat magazine...

    sums up the uk really. people sitting with access to knowledge of the world and what do they read?

    to get a better picture of the uk i read foreign english language news websites which you can be sure is more likely to be free from the establishment spin. for a while the only way to get news about uk troops in afghanistan was through non uk sources. How else could one find about who was involved in the royal blackmail case?

    haven't newspapers always been vanity publishing? done more for the influence rather than the profit?

    the bbc should not be 'free' but behind a login screen for licence payers? because the bbc is not free is it. people do pay for it?

    they will probably find that like museums they'll make more money selling other things through their platforms than from charging? Didn't the times lower its price just to crush a rival?

  • Comment number 11.


    I just read your previous post on Contract Journal's demise.

    I suspect most people missed it because it was posted just a few hours before this post but after reading it, it has put your current post in a different perspective for me.

    I see the dilemma now and empathise with the financial oppression quality journalism is becoming besieged by, it is unfortunately a force beyond journalisms grasp because at its source is human nature itself.

    With freedon comes great responsibility, we are big on freedom and very low on responsibility as a consequence of the lack of ideological debate since the fall of the Berlin wall.

    High quality journalism has become contaminated with the consequences of too much freedom and too much choice (words which have almost become sacred over the last 15 years).

    It would appear we have collectively chosen (when given the choice), to read free titilation journalism online instead of high quality investigative analysis. Newsnight is one of the few remaining preserves of what was the journalistic norm.

    It just goes to show that we can not be trusted with our 'selves' collectively. Hence we came up with various religions and ideological concepts to keep 'the self' in check historically. Repression is the down side of that, but it would appear we are not mature enough as a species to function properly without it in some measure.

    There is much philosophical work to be done.

  • Comment number 12.

    The demography can make a difference here. My son (26 yrs) NEVER buys music or pays to watch a film/DVD. It is all free through illegal filesharing. Almost all his friends do the same. They don't have television licences either. Mandelson is trying, pushed by the large content providers, to do something about this but every measure they dream up will be countered unless they are extremely draconian. Hardly any of them buy newspapers either, even the cheap ones. I haven't done a study outside my own personal experience, maybe you should.

    People over 40 are still in the mindset of 'paying' for media. The under 30's first see what they can get for free and then distribute amongst their peers. As we move to a lower wage economy with a generation or two who are worse off than their parents or grandparents the price of 'news' will continue to fall.

    People with money, and this is relative I don't mean lots of money, will always be willing to pay for content but this will become more specialised as the internet allows for more specialisd distribution. Would you for example pay £1 or 50p or even 10p for Wolf and ditch the rest of the FT or are you always spilling your coffee?

    The popular press will become even more full of press releases and crap as the price keeps plummeting. Specialised content will still be able to command a price and this is for all sorts of stuff whether it is detailed international economic analysis or plumbing.

    best wishes

  • Comment number 13.


    How fortuitous that you should be blogging about media and journalism. I've just skim-read the conclusions of a (whopping, but free!) thesis on the internet, in my continuing exploration into the real meaning of money and wealth (the Minsky, Marx and Soddy axis):

    "Global mass media, especially television penetrate with their information into the public's subconscious creating a kind of hypnosis. The art of 'treating' the broad public is largely automated." Meanwhile "Decision makers in today's global economy are mislead by false theoretical conceptions"
    (For source, search in Google: money upside down haas ddb)

    The author declares that this hypnosis has led to "information overload, which makes critical pausing and reflecting impossible". The modern phenomena of paralysis by analysis – as the current climate change fiasco reveals all too well.

    All this fuss about the price (and therefore profit!) of media provision is another distraction from what the media should really be doing and that is challenging the theoretical underpinnings of those in power.

    The key problem is that our society has truly got the concept of money upside down. This means that we are all too anaesthetised to notice the difference between real wealth creation and fraudulent wealth manipulation:

  • Comment number 14.

    And how much of all this expenditure goes on your BBC staff expenses form?!

  • Comment number 15.

    "I almost immediately bin the Companies and Markets section of the FT"

    You shouldn't. As a source for the likes of your recent excellent post on minerals etc. it can not be beaten. It is probably more informative about the world than 10 Daily Telegraphs or 10 Guardians.

  • Comment number 16.

    Right now i am downloading Curb Your Enthusiasm Series 7, Episode 10. It was on HBO in the US for the first time on Sunday night.

    This is the new distribution model for content - high quality product and absolutely free. But I've started to notice a few more branded mobile phones etc. inside every episode, so my free viewing is clearly worth something to someone.

  • Comment number 17.

    Regarding Moritat's comment, #12... I wonder if all those under 30s who regard free "content" - itself a vile word for creativity - are prepared to work for nothing? How bizarre that they'll pay £20,000 for an education that guarantees them absolutely nothing but won't shell out for a CD, DVD or newspaper? Still, if they're to be part of our new low-waged economy (and can most of them look forward to anything else?) they have only themselves to blame.

    Sorry but people who get stuff for free online make me more than a little furious. There is no such thing as a free lunch, or free owt else. You always pay, in some way, you always pay.

    And the youth of today will pay by not having access to the middle class lifestyles many of us aspired to and some actually achieved.

  • Comment number 18.

    #14 and #15
    Giuseppe - I only bin the Companies and Markets because I don't need to carry it: we have access to all that stuff via the wires it came from. I of course read it first.

    How much of this do I claim for from the BBC? None whatsoever.

  • Comment number 19.

    In the interests of preserving traditional jornalism, albeit in a miniscule way.

    I took the extraordinary step of being careful about spelling and grammer (in so far as I am capable of that having recieved a 'progressive' 70s comprehensive school curriculum in a poor area which included no spelling and grammer lessons in favour of concentrating on underlying meaning...).

    Anyway, I sent off one of my recent topical contributions on the NN editors blog (a bit of a rant about climate change which got some good feedback) to the editor of a real live newspaper.....well it was the Daily Mail actually....I tried the Sun and the Mirror first but they dont seem to have letter pages.

    The last time I wrote to a newspaper was in the early 80's (I think) as a kid I wrote to the Daily Mail (I think my grnadma read it) objecting to Zola Bud being granted british citizenship so she could run in the olympics. Funily enough it was never published, I only found out later that it was the Daily Mail who were sponsoring her! ...A schoolboy error you might say!

    Anyway, I just wanted to see if the old ways were still the best of getting a message accross.

    I will let you know if it gets in, they owe me one anyway for rejecting the journalistic advances of a young lad simply because they were sponsoring a white South African to run for GB whom otherwise would not be able to go to the olympics at that time.

    As I recall in the event she tripped up the american golden girl (mary decker) in the final and lost. After the olympics she went back to south africa, she never lived in the UK.

    I guess even back then in my youth i could see through bull s**** but i guess i learnt early, telling the truth does not get you published.

    So i became an engineer instead.

  • Comment number 20.

    People read the red tops online because it's embarrasing to be caught reading a hard copy in public :p

    If pressed to pay for it, I certainly wouldn't bother.

    Most people do fileshare, so do not pay for music/tv programmes/films as they can get them online for free. Most people have Sky/Freeview - and there is a wealth of news on there, so why bother paying to read online content?

  • Comment number 21.

    News information will follow adverting budgets... online.
    Yes I will pay for my local West Somerset weekly rag, but only when they cease printing the increasingly thin, doomed paper version which I no longer buy, but instead read other people copy stale.
    Same applies to nationals, which by delaying the switch over from paper to the net, will be wiped out by completion from bigger innovative online information sharks such as the publicly funded, free to read, without advert clutter... BBC website. Plus the likes of Google and BT.
    History tells us everything changes during a period of economic evolution... either adapt fast or die.
    Which begs the question, how long before the BBC websites are deemed too dominant, too valuable and sold off to reduce the expanding UK overdraft?

  • Comment number 22.

    Sorry, wasn't being a sanctimonious member of the public. I'd say you're entitled to most of the above on expenses, bar perhaps the theatre...

  • Comment number 23.

    Do you have a fancy mobile? Should you have included it under your broadband bit? Phones are becoming a major access tool to information.
    In some countries (India springs to mind) they are already the major access tool for the web.

    I'm pretty sure I don't agree with The Huff's view on news going social. I rarely find myself discussing news with my friends - I discuss it with complete strangers at places like this.
    Having said that to a certain extent news has always been social - it is after all just gossip about things everyone should care about.

    I'm not sure about micropayments they seem a complete faff.
    I think a subscription model is the most likely.
    Content providers will need to get into bed with access providers for it to work though.
    As you point out access providers have been unsuccessful at becoming content providers and this has generally been because their content has been crud. Some people managed to reside almost entirely inside AOL's walled garden for far too long though.
    I can see envisage a situation where certain content is made available to you for a monthly fee. It is easiest to envision with film or music. A flat fee to your service provider for all you can eat access. But that needs to be a price which would be deemed low compared to what would be picked now for it to take off. E.g. all the music you want for £10-£15 a month.
    They'll be less money from each customer but more customers. However I think what'll be acceptable will end up at a lower overall total than now.
    It needs all the content providers and access providers to be in it together.
    It essentially means that unless you are prepared to pay for it you won't get full access to the web.

    I think copyright as a concept could come under threat - there is clearly a generation with no respect for it. What's to stop them - once they are in power - from removing it or altering it radically.
    I'd say the common perception is that content providers are overpaying creators (and themselves) which is inflating prices - they need to be prepared to make less money and that means paying creators less.

    I'm not convinced newspapers are currently creating enough that is worth paying for, and that'll be what puts them most at threat.
    I agree that it's unlikely that anyone will be prepared for what is happening now type news. That can probably afford to be more functional than it is now.
    I am aware that there are an increasing number of organisations that are creating their own news articles/packages that news organisations are just including because they lack the time to vet them properly, and they concern has to be that this will increase.

    Personally I'll always be prepared to pay for the advice of some-one who trawls through all media available to tell me what is and isn't worth my time. The problem is finding some-one whose opinion you can rely on.

  • Comment number 24.

    #23 I don't have an iPhone. The best the BBC can do is Blackberry. The iPhone, when it takes over business, will become a killer app. Because most people with business phones do surf the web on them and there is a tacit deal with the white collar workforce: you can surf the web on your work smartphone, in return you have to answer your emails while in the pub at 9pm, or putting your kids to bed. Like the web at work, work-bought iPhones will become the KEY means for the middle classes to access news. So who wins the iPhone news battle is key. Anybody know the story so far?

  • Comment number 25.

    Laura #17
    Calm down.... you've even started using phrases like 'the youth of today'

    It is a different world now. A lot of content (or creativity) is freely available. Funded through advertising or speculative investment.

    We also live in an increasingly unequal world and if the government does nothing to make it fairer then people do it themselves. I was watching MTV with my son a few years ago and a rap artist (I think it was Missy Elliot) was showing off her trainer wardrobe, hundreds of pairs of probably very expensive trainers. At that point he said "That's why I download music"

    They don't shell out for a CD, DVD or newspaper because they have shelled out 20 grand for an education that will possibly only qualify them to work in a call centre for flompence.

    There is such a thing as a free lunch, bankers, politicians, pop stars get them all the time.

    The way creative content is marketed and sold is changing. That's what the blog is about. People under a certain age access their entertainment very differently to the 40+ generation and especially the 50+ generation. You can't just tell them off and creative content providers realise this which is why they will change their delivery methods to make money somehow or disappear.

  • Comment number 26.

    Apps on the iphone are part of why I think things will go the way they will.
    A number of apps are about coherently presenting content that you could get elsewhere but it's a pain to do it or it doesn't necessarily fit the screen well - stuff like that.
    I'm surprised ISPs aren't trying to build a similar kind of set up - there are a fair number of people who really aren't that computer literate. An app that say helps your gran do her weekly shop on line might be more of a winner just saying "yeah but she can just do it on the website".

    I don't know who is winning the iphone news battle. I'd have thought you are better placed to find that out than most of us.
    You can get a version of Sky Sports for £6 a month but it appears that is only via wifi rather than the mobile network.
    It hasn't been about long but it'll be interesting to see how that does.
    Spotify which has been out on the iphone since the summer at £10 a month is another worth looking at.
    I realise neither of those are news.
    CNN, ESPN & The Weather Channel appear on this
    and ESPN, The Weather Channel, CNBC on this
    So I'm guessing that is what Canada is doing.

  • Comment number 27.

    Mini-Murdoch's speech earlier this year says it all - all they need now is the Tories in to stamp on the BBC's already scrabbling fingers and we're in Canadian-style freefall.

    I've heard there is a rights-issue problem to the BBC charging a global license fee for it's content (i.e. UK users with a license get it free, others have to buy a license)

    Does anyone have more info on this? Seems like such a good idea i can't believe it hasn't been thought of, so was wondering what would need to change to make it happen.

  • Comment number 28.

    I'm disappointed to see that you have fallen for that urban myth regarding the British Library. It is still very much a place for productive research in peace and quiet.

    Also, I'm surprised you don't mention the role of blogs as a source of news and opinion. Especially as this was written on one.


More from this blog...

Latest contributors

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.