WPP Chief Says Readers Should Pay for Internet News

07 December 2005

Sir Martin Sorrell, chief executive of the world's second biggest advertising conglomerate WPP Group, says newspapers should charge readers for their online content.

Speaking at this year's Global Media Week Conference in New York he told his audience: "I'm prepared to pay for breaking news. I think people would pay for content they value and trust."

Sir Martin believes newspapers must shore-up falling advertising revenues and declared astonishment at the amount of content they give away via their websites.

He echoes Les Hinton, chairman of News Corporation unit News International which publishes The Times and The Sun in the UK. According to Hinton,newspapers' problem is "how to grow aggressively your online presence without, at the same time, making your company less valuable".

Most UK newspapers make no charge for online content, although a few, such as the Financial Times and The Independent levy fees for premium internet content.

Data sourced from MediaGuardian.co.uk; additional content by WARC staff