Rupert Murdoch declares war on Internet

Here is some fascinating analysis from Vanity Fair:

Rupert Murdoch is going to battle against the
Internet, bent on making readers

rupertmurdoch.jpg

Rupert Murdoch: He's smiling now, but just wait....

actually pay for online newspaper
journalism-beginning with his London Sunday Times. History suggests he won't back down; the experts suggest he's crazy. Is he also ignoring his industry's biggest problem?

...After fulminating for a year about how people on the Internet should
pay for news, he made it official. Announcing in August the biggest
losses his company has ever sustained, he added that he'd had enough
and if people wanted to read his newspapers they could bloody well pay
for them.

Having once worked for Murdoch at the Chicago Sun-Times, I can guarantee what when he declares war, you better head for the ramparts.

Actually, I'm glad that someone at last is challenging the conventional wisdom that newspapers no longer can sell their product. I believe that they can and that they should

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  • I commented before that the newspapers have to come up with a business model other than print.

    Murdoch seems to have gone both ways, in that a subscription is no longer needed for the WSJ, but is if you want to read the "premium content."

    This is not so much "war on the internet," as trying to figure out some way not to give the content away. If you want to look at a company that successfully did that, Thomson (or ThomsonReuters, or whatever it calls itself at the moment) sold off all of its newspapers, became an electronic publisher for the professional market, solely based on subscriptions, and is dissatisfied if it doesn't make 30% margin. Compare that to the financial bankruptcy of most newspapers.

    The real question is whether the Tribune, which, up to now relied on classified advertising to make a profit (now dried up by the economy and craigslist), can put an editorial product on the web for which subscribers are willing to pay. Given the editorial quality of the Tribune in the past two years or so, I doubt it. The Sun-Times itself does good investigative reporting, but no one is going to pay to read the community papers, which are now almost totally devoid of news.

  • Well, a rare pleasure, Dennis -- to share some values in common. At least it's the way I read you here, raising a cheer for the printed media. I too find evidence it's not yet ready to pass from the scene, for it's a unique medium unto itself. The heart of the matter of course is how to mix and match the old and the new media. Right now there are as many ideas out there as there once were different railroad track gauges and video-recording formats. Some someone will eventually find the right answer and just maybe Murdoch is persistent & rich enough to be that someone!

    So who'd you prefer working for??

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