8/06/2009

Murdoch's plan to move his newspapers to the periphery of the web

Rupert Murdoch has announced today that his newspapers websites are to become subscription sites, charging a fee, and will no longer be free. Whilst this might generate some cash, it is going to drastically affect the influence his companies have on the internet.

For starters, the vast majority of people will not pay for news on the internet. If you want free news you can go to the BBC website (I know we pay a license fee but the website is free for everyone to use) or any other number of free to read sites. Murdoch believes other papers will follow his lead. Personally I don't think they will and those that don't will have a greater market share, more readers and more influence.

Then there is the issue of advertising. Advertisers are going to be less inclined to place adverts with Murdoch's papers if they have less of a market share. This will mean more money for his rivals and less for his subscription titles.

Then there is the issue of influence. Murdoch has an unparallelled amount of influence in the UK at the moment. His papers can make or break politicians and political parties. Yet with the growth of new media, he seems to be willing to let this go and diminish his influence.

The world, it seems, is moving on and away from newspapers. More and more young people expect things on the internet to be free. Yet the Murdoch's seem to thing that they can roll out a similar policy to that which works for SKY on to newspapers. The difference is that SKY has control of the pay TV market with very few and much smaller rivals. Newspapers and the internet are very different things.

As I see it I welcome the news from Murdoch today. Anything that diminishes his ability to manipulate our political system and moves his titles to the periphery has got to be good.

11 comments:

Costigan Quist said...

That's me stuffed. I'm certainly not going to pay good money for the Sun or NotW, but they're pretty good material for dodgy stories I can rip apart on the blog.

Just have to stick with the Mail and Express - not that there's any shortage of material there, to be fair.

Paul Pinfield said...

This looks like the spectacularly bad move. Does the Times website give me anything I would pay for? No.

MNM are totally missing the point. They simply think that their readers have moved online, when in effect, we have moved away from them. News no longer has any value. That's why Metro is doing so well. It is free...

James Higham said...

For starters, the vast majority of people will not pay for news on the internet.

No but this is the start of the new two-tier approach to the net they've tried to institute before.

None of the aobve said...

To paraphrase the late, great Bill Hicks, anyone dumb enough to want to read that crap should have to pay for it.

everyone's a winner?

alistair said...

I can only agree anything which is bad for Murdoch is good for British democracy. Wonder what his excuse to drop the charges when they fail will be

Anonymous said...

Spelthorne Guru writes...

Yes, a very bad move by Mudroch.

Most people throughout the world (providing their ISP hasn't blocked the site) can read the BBC News website for free.

I also like to read US papers on-line.

Paul Pinfield said...

Something that has been raised elsewhere is the issue of advertising revenue. If there is a fall off in page views, there will also be fall off in advertising revenue. The question is, will the subscription revenue replace the shortfall in advertising revenue? My feeling is, no...

Ho hum.

Brian E said...

As the only UK newspaper I usually bother about on the internet is the Daily Mail to have a look at Fred Bassett, it doesn't worry me. Given enough time, I prefer to glance through other countries' papers; mainly the English speaking countries but also some European countries where major newspapers give a digest of their news in English.
For a country which is part of Europe, both politically and physically, our media publish very little about what is going on outside this country.

Anonymous said...

Brian E said "...the only UK newspaper I usually bother about on the internet is the Daily Mail to have a look at Fred Bassett".

Good choice. More's the pity that the Exprss doesn't have George & Lynne online to enable guessing games as to in exactly which frame Lynne will get her thruppenies out....

Letters From A Tory said...

Unless he does something quick, his empire will start to suffer. Mind you, as I was blogging this morning, this idea is doomed to fail.

Quietzapple said...

The Ft asks me for £1.56 I think it is and I think about it. If I was to take the news and blogging seriously I might go for that. (Won't have Murdoch in the house)

But if Murdoch's subs were introduced as part of packages with Bingo, topless models, Chameleon firing Osborne etc it might work.

Murdoch is not stupid, he is a media General of genius, he will make this work, and he has people paid to do a better job than me to work out how.

It doesn't follow that everyone else will, and it may be that the Indie will die as the changes are enacted over the next 2 years or so.

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