Murdoch: The days of free online newspapers is over

Rick Moran
Is it, Rupie baby? Murdoch thinks that because online subscriptions are booming for the Wall Street Journal that he can pull a similar trick with his other newspaper holdings.

Mmmmm...I wonder. The WSJ has experienced that growth because articles of interest are usually put in front of the website's firewall. We here at AT frequently use WSJ material that has been made available in this fashion. This practice - an excellent marketing gimmick - has no doubt spurred many to purchase subscriptions.

But the WSJ is a lot different than the Sunday Times or even the New York Post. If access to those websites will be by subscription only, my guess would be that Murdoch's plans will come a cropper - just as the New York Times failed experiment with putting its columnists behind a subscription firewall. The Times finally gave up and actually expanded access to its archives which has been a boon to bloggers.

The Guardian's Andrew Clark quotes the billionare:

Encouraged by booming online subscription revenues at the Wall Street Journal, the billionaire media mogul last night said that papers were going through an "epochal" debate over whether to charge. "That it is possible to charge for content on the web is obvious from the Wall Street Journal's experience," he said.

Asked whether he envisaged fees at his British papers such as the Times, the Sunday Times, the Sun and the News of the World, he replied: "We're absolutely looking at that." Taking questions on a conference call with reporters and analysts, he said that moves could begin "within the next 12 months‚" adding: "The current days of the internet will soon be over."

I don't think Murdoch "gets" the internet. Even when the New York Times had their columnists behind a firewall, you could usually find the interesting ones reproduced in full somewhere. And, as it turns out, nobody really missed not reading Maureen Dowd, Krugman, Rich, Brooks, and the whole gaggle of pompous, arrogant New York Times columnists.

I think Murdoch is in for a rude awakening.



Is it, Rupie baby? Murdoch thinks that because online subscriptions are booming for the Wall Street Journal that he can pull a similar trick with his other newspaper holdings.

Mmmmm...I wonder. The WSJ has experienced that growth because articles of interest are usually put in front of the website's firewall. We here at AT frequently use WSJ material that has been made available in this fashion. This practice - an excellent marketing gimmick - has no doubt spurred many to purchase subscriptions.

But the WSJ is a lot different than the Sunday Times or even the New York Post. If access to those websites will be by subscription only, my guess would be that Murdoch's plans will come a cropper - just as the New York Times failed experiment with putting its columnists behind a subscription firewall. The Times finally gave up and actually expanded access to its archives which has been a boon to bloggers.

The Guardian's Andrew Clark quotes the billionare:

Encouraged by booming online subscription revenues at the Wall Street Journal, the billionaire media mogul last night said that papers were going through an "epochal" debate over whether to charge. "That it is possible to charge for content on the web is obvious from the Wall Street Journal's experience," he said.

Asked whether he envisaged fees at his British papers such as the Times, the Sunday Times, the Sun and the News of the World, he replied: "We're absolutely looking at that." Taking questions on a conference call with reporters and analysts, he said that moves could begin "within the next 12 months‚" adding: "The current days of the internet will soon be over."

I don't think Murdoch "gets" the internet. Even when the New York Times had their columnists behind a firewall, you could usually find the interesting ones reproduced in full somewhere. And, as it turns out, nobody really missed not reading Maureen Dowd, Krugman, Rich, Brooks, and the whole gaggle of pompous, arrogant New York Times columnists.

I think Murdoch is in for a rude awakening.