News Corp boss Rupert Murdoch tells the Financial Times that “we intend to charge for all our news websites,” presumably including the New York Post — and that “If we’re successful, we’ll be followed by all media.” Murdoch already charges for some content at the Wall Street Journal. News Corp posted a $203 million loss for the quarter ending June 30. Its cable networks seem to be performing well, but Fox Interactive Media, which includes MySpace, was way down. And online newspapers are these days not a big earnings booster, which may be why Murdoch wants to make up some shortfall there.
It looks like news peddlers are trending the same way. The New York Times has been looking at ways to charge for their online content (again), and the Associated Press is working on a plan to charge for online quotes of their material of more than five words…
Webhead response is bellicose. “Rupert Murdoch to commit Internet suicide,” says The People’s Voice. “Asking readers to pay for FoxNews.com is like charging $10 for an after-dinner mint,” says The Atlantic‘s Derek Thompson. “Perhaps at this point in the history of the internet it’s time for the new media to come into it’s own,” says Macsmind. “Bloggers now encompass every point on the globe, literally millions of them. So what says we can’t provide the content the ‘big boys’ provide.”
Macsmind seems not to notice that the “new media” gets most of its news from big vendors like News Corp, the Times, et alia. (His article on this extensively quotes the Guardian.) Arianna Huffington isn’t paying for worldwide bureaus. The real game of chicken is not between the blog world and big news orgs, but among the big news orgs themselves as to who goes first. Murdoch’s announcement may be a bluff. But if it isn’t, this business is about to get more expensive. Photo (cc) World Economic Forum.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on August 6, 2009