..afr.com, will be relaunched for the second time this year in “a matter of weeks” with more content likely to be made freely available after months of criticism
The decision by Fairfax chief David Kirk puts him at odds with the head of the group’s business division, Fairfax Business Media chief Michael Gill, who was quoted on Thursday as saying their approach to the much maligned internet site “would not change a jot”
Here’s that Micheal Gill quote, courtesy of The Age:
Mr Gill hinted the “news and simple stuff” on the relaunched website would no longer use Flash — “it will behave like a website” — but reiterated he had no intention of following The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal and scrapping the paid subscriber model for online. “We’re very certain that our business is a subscription business,” he said
mmmm. No flash, but either ‘subscription business’ or ‘more content freely available’.
It is a late decision, but no doubt helped along by the NYTimes going free, and the persistent rumours about the WSJ going free next. I’d love to see the NYTimes traffic stats for the last week or so – the archives are proving great fodder for the blogosphere.
Although David Kirk said:
We got it wrong at the outset, we are going to get it right, so stick with us,”… …..We are going to make afr.com more accessible for users..
he also said:
– but let’s go back to the beginning.
There are four dimensions at work here: news and information; archives; investment and financial tools; and a digital rights management system.
No wrong. I see little need any more for the digital rights management system as those WSJ rights are worthless soon, and any DRM gets in the way of usability. That may mean some contract renegotiations, but they should start with the premise that information should be free.
The investment and financial tools are available for free elsewhere, even in a spreadsheet. Moreover, people that can pay for those investment tools should really have them on their desktop already – and would probably prefer a straight data download.
Archives – well the recent ones should be open, else why would the live articles ever get linked to, and the historical ones should be open, as they create a wonderful long tail of content. A blog search for New York Times archives retrieves 60,000 results – pretty impressive for a week.
So – we shall wait to grok the fullness.