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Rupert Murdoch
Murdoch plans to work with hardware and software providers to reach his goals

Print magazines and newspapers are fighting a battle today against free content that is readily available online and the need to charge for their content. Many in the newspaper industry say that quality content is not cheap and that it shouldn't be offered for free.

One of the loudest voices in the newspaper world is News Corp's Rupert Murdoch. Murdoch said Wednesday that, "We intend to charge for all our news websites. We will go down in journalism history as either the seminal moment when the industry came back from the internet abyss or this century's version of into the valley of death, rode the six hundred."

Murdoch says that the entity that is able to find a new method of recouping the cost of producing content will not only see its own profits soar, but will allow the entire industry to profit as well.

Murdoch said, "The digital revolution has opened up many new and inexpensive methods of distribution but it has NOT made content free."

The Examiner reports that Murdoch is not looking for a White House commission or changes in copyright law to rescue the ailing print publication industry. It seems that Murdoch has a decent base to build a new business model on. He points out that since his company bought the Wall Street Journal, the publication has expanded both print and online subscriptions, showing that there is still an audience that is willing to pay for content.

The WSJ is the only U.S. paper according to Murdoch that has been able to grow online and print business during the recession. Murdoch is looking to more than simply charging people to read online content as a way to boost profits. He said, "Right now we're working with software, hardware, and other publishers within the industry to develop a model that works for consumer. Beyond the economics, it is crucial we maintain a direct relationship with our customers."

Part of this plan is the introduction of an eReader that could possibly be sold along with a subscription based on contract of a specific length in a similar fashion to how mobile phones are sold. The idea of charging for content isn't a new thought for Murdoch; he has called for all newspapers to charge for content before. There are twinges of Murdoch trying to make nice with readers though, perhaps he took Google's Eric Schmidt's advice when Schmidt said don't "piss off" readers.

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By Zensen on 8/7/2009 3:37:55 AM , Rating: 2
As unfortunate as this sounds, someone has to pay for quality journalism (whether or not you think the news that comes out of news corp is worthy.. if you don't then you will not care whether they force this onto you or not.)

And if the current model is not producing the profits then you might as well run a hack-eyed blog that most often than not has a very biased opinion, poorly written which sounds more like advertisement or an article taken word by word off another blog with a few words changed here and there.

It has been proven to be somewhat successful in places but whether or not this has a flow on effect is something one must worry about when you crave for free news everyday.

By Tripmasta on 8/10/2009 3:44:34 PM , Rating: 2
Chris Anderson, the CEO of Wired magazine, recently released a book that explores how organizations can use free content to make money. It's really good - I recommend checking it out. Anyways, companies such as Google give products away for free, and make good money while doing so. It's just about readjusting the model - as newspapers and record labels are figuring out. It's about finding a way to monetize a reader's time and attention, or your own reputation.

In the case of news, perhaps they should still offer it for free, but offer premium content to paying subscribers. Perhaps they should try to make money via ebook distributions, or even code some really cool applications to display/interact with thier content, then charge for that. The point is that a company can give something away for free, especially due to digital distribution. There are other areas that can be leveraged to generate profit and the free content could even be a great tool for attracting consumer attention...

- J

"I mean, if you wanna break down someone's door, why don't you start with AT&T, for God sakes? They make your amazing phone unusable as a phone!" -- Jon Stewart on Apple and the iPhone

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