Murdoch says Pay Up

Murdoch Says,

Pay Up for

Internet News


"... open the church, and see the people."  Fellow Media Tycoon Rupert Murdoch.

Charge for Internet News

Note: the material in this piece was lifted from other news outlets for free.

News giant Rupert Murdoch has announced there will be no more free news on the internet. Murdoch is quoted as saying: "The digital revolution has opened many new and inexpensive distribution channels but it has not made content free." He went on to say what we at the Prospect already knew: "Quality journalism is not cheap. An industry that gives away its content is simply cannibalising its ability to produce good reporting." He intends to start charging for individual articles. Murdoch owns the Wall Street Journal and many other newspapers.

Robert Thomson, editor of the Wall Street Journal, recently called Google and other outlets who glean and gather the news "parasites or tech tapeworms in the intestines of the Internet." He is quoted: "Readers have been socialized—wrongly I believe—that much content should be free." The Wall Street Journal has been successfully charging for several months. Rupert claims the results are "not a gold mine" but still paying bills.

Readers will recall that a couple of months ago the Prospect was on the verge of being sued by the Associated Press for passing news on. That suit was settled out of court when the AP’s lawyers never contacted the Prospect, or even knew we were here.

The problem large publications like the Wall Street Journal have is the transition from the old form of paying for news to the new form. The expenses of sending correspondents to Beirut (or Downieville) have to be made up somehow. As Thomson indicated, the culture of the internet is content for free. It may not be very good content, but it’s new, and it’s free. Content mills like Helium and Associated Content  are producing cheap content of often mediocre quality, and news organizations like Indymedia  provide first hand news by people participants.

Advertisers traditionally pay for news, but on the internet, content is easily stripped from advertising. Advertisers are often hesitant to pay full price for internet advertising because it is sometimes difficult to target specific markets. When an advertiser puts an ad in a paper media, they know it will be on the page and they know, or imagine they know, who the audience is. Not so on the internet.

All of these factors are sucking the profit from large, previously paper giants like the WSJ, and those who are still on paper only. While on line publications aren’t getting rich, the physical costs of putting out a newspaper on pulp continue to rise, giving digital competition the advantage. This leaves advertisers and media alike in confusion about what content, and ad space, is worth.

Internet content in general is often of low quality, because so much of it is free, but there are sites with content of high quality which prior to the internet would never have found an audience. Murdoch is right in pointing out that quality costs money, but it remains to be seen if he can get online readers to pay.


Editor’s note:

Unlike the Wall Street Journal, the Sierra County Prospect already has a plan for profitability for online advertising. Your ad with us is seen by people in Sierra County and surrounding areas, and by people who are interested in coming to Sierra County, and our rates reflect what local advertising is worth, not what it costs us to print the ad.

We’ll happily send staff to show you how it’s done, Rupert!

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