Murdoch’s News Of The World Paid Online By October?

We always knew the rest of News International’s portfolio would follow The Times and Sunday Times in starting to charge reader fees online.

Now NMA is putting an October launch date on the NOTW project, without naming a source; the publisher also isn’t commenting.

If observers were sceptical the Times titles, with their more high-brow articles, can succeed after charging online, what on earth are we to make of NOTW and The Sun following suit?

One onlooker jokes the site is a future Darwin Award winner, referring to the annual ceremony in which folks are acknowledged for comic ways in which they have committed suicide.

NMA says the strategy “will hinge on exclusive video content, distributed across an overhauled site and app”.

The NOTW site is full of the kinds of trashy celebrity stories that are becoming commonplace at new online sources, and at the likes of Mail Online, which is marking itself out against its print counterpart with a more celeb-centric gait.

But it costs money to pay people to dish the dirt, and to send video reporters undercover for weeks at a time.

Indeed, NOTW, formed in 1843, practically invented the trashy news exposé, and has one USP, in particular, going for it – the videos that are the hallmark of its stings and its entertainment reports (see Sick Mule Stunt, Monica Mint’s Steamy Shoot or an interview with Raoul Moat’s ex girlfriend).

Conceivably, it’s these which News International may see as the ace in its pack, expecting to pull viewers to the see John Higgins caught in the act or accusations against Max Mosley.

Problem is, clips of many of these bigger-news videos are already fed out to TV channels, so potential readers may have already seen them.