News International have announced they will be charging for access to their Times and Sunday Times newspaper websites within a few months. At the same time we have the announcement that the Independent newspaper is to be bought by a Russian oligarch, and may end up as a free publication. This divergence of business models is interesting, but what concerns us at Flax is how technology will help newspaper websites differentiate themselves.
The NLA’s ClipShare and ClipSearch services, which are powered by Flax, are good models for monetizing newspaper content, and are already in use at some of the U.K.’s largest publishers. If you need to quickly find a particular story, see related articles and grasp an overview of coverage you need scalable, highly accurate search technology. Users have been conditioned to expect search to ‘just work’, and they simply won’t pay for anything that doesn’t come up to scratch.