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.

1 comment:

  1. Mr Murdoch how much money do you need? I cam probably help there.