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Eric Schmidt says in general paid content plans don't work online

Print publications that run websites are fighting to convince their peers and readers that paying for content online is the only way to go. The problem is that a generation of internet users are used to getting content for free and getting them to pay for the content will be difficult if not impossible.

Publishing tycoon Rupert Murdoch has previously stated that his company will begin charging for access to the content on all of its websites. Currently the only publication that charges for content in Murdoch's empire is the Wall Street Journal.

Shortly after Murdoch made the decree that all of News Corps. websites would charge for access to content, Google CEO Eric Schmidt scoffed at the plan and said that newspapers don’t want to "piss off" readers. Schmidt has again scoffed at Murdoch's plan to charge for online content.

Schmidt told attendees at a meeting of a group of British broadcasting executives that it would be very hard to charge for content online because the same content is available free.

Reuters quotes Schmidt saying, "In general these models have not worked for general public consumption because there are enough free sources that the marginal value of paying is not justified based on the incremental value of quantity. So my guess is for niche and specialist markets ... it will be possible to do it but I think it is unlikely that you will be able to do it for all news."

Schmidt is basically saying that the Wall Street Journal being successful with charging for content online is the exception, not the rule.

Murdoch has still not rolled out his pay for content scheme to any of the other websites in his publishing empire; perhaps he knows deep down that wishing readers would pay and getting them to do so are two very different things.



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Not going to happen
By Motoman on 9/18/2009 10:58:56 AM , Rating: 2
...virtually all news online is commoditized...and democratized. Fundamentally, the only way a news source could get away with charging for content is if they were well and truly a unique, niche offering that no one else could compete with.

I can think of precisely one example: WSJ.

I don't believe for a second that regular newspapers have any chance in hell of charging for content. Especially not unless they can convince other online sources like Reuters and CNN to start charging for their content too.

If you got every online newspaper to charge, then people may pay because they feel they have no choice (bloggers and similar stuff notwithstanding). Granted that at least one credible news source will always be free, no other regular news sources can ever charge for their news.




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