The Fool Formerly Known as Rupert Murdoch

Maybe it’s the denigration of an old man stuck in an antique media showing the signs of his age, or maybe pay media is the way forward for the internet medium.
Rupert Murdoch, creator of the News Corporation (News Corp) Empire, discussed this week his plans to do two things to News Corp’s subordinate websites. One, to create a pay-wall behind which subscribers would have to pay money to read any one of the news stories on his websites. Two, to remove his websites and all their content listings from search indexers like Google and Bing.
News Corp owns, among many other Newspapers, the Wall Street Journal, and the Times (England).
Murdoch’s reasoning behind his decisions are mostly monetary based. He says to Sky News Australia, ‘no web sites anywhere in the world make serious money.’ Which is partially true, most news websites don’t make much money—but they do make some money. This system would not have worked from the beginning 10 to 15 years ago if the websites were not making money. Murdoch, in his infinite wisdom of all web-based media, counters this, ‘they [consumers and search engines] shouldn't have had it free all the time…and I think we've been asleep.’
While it may have been nap time for this old fart, he doesn’t realize cyberspace has grown up. We’re in a time when broadcasters can stream the entirety of their primetime shows to anyone in a nation for free over the internet. Admittedly, there was some foolish CEO the other week boasting about how would become a pay service by 2010 these rumors were quickly shot down. We will never know if they were dispelled because of the sheer uproar at the news, but we know that people would be entirely adverse to it.
And this is the reason why pay content will not work. One, people will never pay for it so you’re limiting your income base originally. You would then have to remove any income generating ads from a pay service, so that’s another step down in income. Not only that, but Murdoch intends to remove his websites from search engines. What he doesn’t seem to realize is that search engines are a major source of traffic for non-readers. New users will never become familiar with the site if they can never find it or see what kind of content it holds.
Murdoch says that you pay for a news paper, so why not pay for content online. But I don’t believe this is how things work anymore. But I could be wrong. The New York Times is making its decision in the next couple of weeks whether or not they will be constructing a pay wall. The New York Times has about 19 million visitors monthly (, it will be interesting to see how this would affect that number. It would also be interesting to see the affects on a company who has no plans for a pay-wall, (30 million visitors monthly). If consumers cannot get their content for free at the site of their choice, they will go to other places to get it without any sign of remorse. The internet is free and it will remain free. Murdoch might not get it at this time, but his empire is bleeding and this is not the bandage he needs.

Overrated: FlashForward

Despite being based on a novel, this TV show falls flat on its face (see Dexter for TV shows that actually do well when based on a book). Billed as the next Lost, ABC’s FlashForward seemed to have a good premise. The previews looked exciting and new. What I found though was a show particularly hard to watch. Apart from the first 20 mins of the first episode which seemed to head in the correct direction, the show began a headlong spiral into obscurity and feeble stories.
The premise:
The entire world blacks out for two minutes. During that time they see the future—they FlashForward. Wow, you say, that sounds like an awesome premise. Well that’s what I thought too, unfortunately I was dead wrong.
What makes this show awful?
One key element of the premise comes back and bites the story writers in the ass. Everybody sees their future—and we as the audience see that future too. Personally I hate predictable endings and this plays directly into this. I’m sure there are twists and turns on the way there but as soon as they figured out all the FlashForwards occurred on the same day and time in the future I figured out I was over it. I did watch 3 episodes of the series. I did try, but what I found every time were revelations that were less than earth shattering. Maybe I was expecting the Lost effect, or just expecting too much. While it might be an original premise it all feels way to played out; From the way Dr. Olivia Benford (Sonya Walger) finds the man from her FlashForward, the fact that we know that Special Agent Demetri Noh (John Cho) will die sometime soon (its like Jack from 24, except the exact reverse), or even the way the uninspiring-ly acted main character Special Agent Mark Benford (Joseph Fiennes) pieces the puzzle together from his FlashForward.
You itch for it to get to the end—to some measurable point—at then you just can’t take it anymore when a revelation comes and it’s weak or a dead end. And while this may seem almost hypocritical from a big Lost fan, I’m calling this show Overrrated. On the same hand I can’t wait for ‘V,’ ABC’s other big mystery-drama of the fall.

Check out the ABC Starter Kit for everything you really dont need to know:

Underrated: Modern Family

As I watched this week’s episode of ABC’s new half hour comedy on Wednesday, Modern Family it dawned on me that this was definitively the best new show on television. The mix of comedy is both smart and calculated and of course funny. The characters are understandable, quirky likable and the storylines are interesting and usually beyond funny.

The premise
The show consists of three separate family units. The first is the traditional nuclear family, one oblivious dad who wants to be a friend as apposed to a dad, 3 kids and a mom who just wants to keep everything together. The second, a gay couple who recently adopted a child from Asia. And finally an older man who has remarried a younger Colombian woman with a single child.

What makes this show great?
The key thing to know for this show is that all three families are tied together. The older man is the father of one half of the couples in the other two family units (the super mom and the smaller half of the gay couple). What this means is that at times the story lines will intertwine to a single (and often hilarious) point at the end. Three separate storylines means that if one storyline sucks the other two generally make up for it. Each family unit works by itself, developing its own plot, but then takes it a step further when the families come together. From being learner parents to learning to drive the show takes on the most prevalent and funny issues and trivialities in parenthood and families. Without spoiling any of the multitude of jokes crammed into a half hour, some of the best parts of the latest episode (and the best of the series) were issues of driving, waking up, baby bumps and who could win a race, fitting in and the first day of school. Despite the humor the show usually always wraps up with a lesson—almost Grey’s Anatomy-esque—which ultimately ties the episode together nicely and completely.

While NBC’s Community did have a good streak, it ultimately falls in second behind the admittedly lesser known but far funnier standards of Modern Family. Do yourself a favor and tune in Wednesdays at 9 on ABC; I’m fairly sure you’ll be glad you did.

Checkout the clip below for a taste: