I think the UK newspapers have definitely switched to an online policy. I have updated the UK Acrobat Services site with news on the Guardian free PDF offer and the FT recovery and web growth. In both cases there is a lack of info on a clear business model. The FT reports advertising growth but no info on what proportion was online. There is circulation info with the UK fully paid only a few thousand more than the web subscribers. So the FT is close to being a news organisation with an online base.
Richard Wray in The Guardian reports
"Pearson's chief executive, Marjorie Scardino, admitted yesterday that the ability of its flagship Financial Times title to take part in the growing online debate was being hampered by the subscription fees charged for access to its FT.com site.
But announcing better-than-expected first-half profits for Pearson, which includes Penguin books and educational publishing, Ms Scardino stopped short of suggesting that the paper's website, which is nearly 11 years old, should dump subscriptions altogether and rely on advertising revenues."
This is pushing the Guardian approach which seems to have more or less given up on subscriptions. There is very little promotion for the 'digital editions' and the new PDF free download is based on the web updates round 24 hours, not a copy of a previous print edition.
Unfortunately most of the potential benefits of PDF have got lost along the way. The new A4 G24 is designed to be printed out apparently. It can be read on screen but there are no links from the content page. The photos are sometimes fairly low res, maybe intended for web a bit smaller. The 'digital edition' has no navigation use of PDF as a document. It is not like a magazine where PDF has been used to offer the complete experience of print.
There may have been a chance that Guardian readers would have paid for a PDF with graphics. But this has not been promoted so the G24 may be the format that will continue. Lots of text but small photos and no illustration.
The FT subscription model has some benefits. It includes some PDF pages complete.