Thursday, 6 August 2009

What planet is Murdoch on?


News Corp is set to start charging online customers for news content across all its websites.

The media giant is looking for additional revenue streams after announcing big losses.

The company lost $3.4bn (£2bn) in the year to the end of June, which chief executive Rupert Murdoch said had been "the most difficult in recent history".

Mr Murdoch said he was "satisfied" that the company could produce "significant revenues from the sale of digital delivery of newspaper content".

"The digital revolution has opened many new and inexpensive methods of distribution," he added.

"But it has not made content free. Accordingly, we intend to charge for all our news websites. I believe that if we are successful, we will be followed by other media.

"Quality journalism is not cheap, and an industry that gives away its content is simply cannibalising its ability to produce good reporting," he said.

Oh this really is funny. His range of newspapers are going the way of the dodo, along with the rest of the dead tree press. He knows that, because the demographics show that it is only the older generation that clings to this format. People will take a copy of a paper for free when getting on a train, but the internet has changed everything. With devices becoming ever more portable and document viewing devices becoming better by the day; why would anyone want a printed piece of yesterdays news. That format is all but obsolete.

So Murdoch now thinks this his range of websites will be able to charge. Well, if he was right about the quality of content, then I may have agreed. Let's face it though. There isn't much quality in the Murdoch stable. All of his papers are biased, establishment rags that filter the news to the lowest common denominator. The Telegraph is probably the only site it check on now and then, but believe me, if I have to pay, then it will be no great loss.

The real news comes from the agencies such as Reuters and AFP, again heavily filtered, but certainly there is some useful news there. All of the media use these organisations as their springboard. Indeed, if you read a copy of the Mirror or the Sun, you would be mistaken for thinking it was the same paper or website sometimes. Maybe they will put their own filtered view on that news, but really I can't think of anything worthwhile that has ORIGINATED from the established rags or their sites for some time.

No, if Murdoch thinks his propaganda is actually what people want and will pay for in the online world, he is in for a sharp shock. Blogs and alternate media sources are taking over the comment arena, which is what a lot of people are interested in. We simply don't need Murdoch's rags or sites anymore, so if he starts making them pay sites, he will see his readership shrink to almost zero over night.

Which for me is good. The MSM have served their establishment masters far too well and not the people. The sooner empires like Murdoch's fall, the better and this sort of move will bring that day much closer.


Winton Bates said...

People may be prepared to pay for some kinds of content e.g. the inside story of what the president said to the prostitute or vice versa. So Murdoch might be right.

On the other hand, I am not sure that many people will be prepared to pay to read the opinions of journalists on political issues. If I am right that is not good news for the future of quality journalism.

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