Murdoch: Paywalls and iPad Are Good, Google Not So Much
We have heard this song sung by News Corps Rupert Murdoch on many occasions. If consistency counts for anything he certainly gets point for staying on message. Murdoch has again opened up his war of words around paywalls for online newspaper content and calling Google on copyright infringement. This time, though, Mr. Murdoch was able to show that at least he is hip to what is going on in the world of technology by talking about Apple’s iPad as well.
Murdoch was speaking at a National Press Club event at George Washington University and the Guardian reports
Rupert Murdoch has launched a spirited defence of putting up paywalls around his newspaper websites, while embracing the game-changing potential of Apple’s iPad. The News Corp chairman hailed the new device as a possible saviour of the newspaper industry.
Murdoch renewed his attacks on search engines, such as Google, whom he accused of stealing journalism from traditional media outlets. He said the newspaper industry had to stand up for itself and charge for content while using copyright law to defend its journalism from being used without its permission.
So Murdoch is carrying through with his threat to set up paywalls when he does so for the Times and Sunday Times of London in June. What he needs, however, is the support of the rest of the industry. In his remarks it sounded, however, that the rest of the newspaper industry may not “have his back” on this. Needless to say, Murdoch is not happy and pointed the New York Times out as one of the problem spots in the paywall line of defense.
Murdoch also fired a shot at the New York Times – a common bête noire of Murdoch’s and the Journal’s main rival – by saying that the New York Times’ own paywall plans were half-hearted and needed to be more restrictive.
They don’t seem to be able to make up their mind. They will have opposition internally from some of their journalists, especially their columnists,” he said.”To really make it work they have got to put a paywall up. I think most newspapers in [the US] have got to have a paywall.
The likelihood of all newspapers suddenly getting up one morning and saying as they read their own newspaper online “Gee, I think Rupert is right and today is the day to tell our readership they are screwed unless they cough up a fee” is slim. In fact, some of the experiments with paywalls have left something to be desired.
Murdoch did, however, show off his hipster coolness by showing the WSJ iPad version and he even pulled out his crystal ball.
I got a glimpse of the future last weekend with the Apple iPad. It is a wonderful thing,” he said. “If you have less newspapers and more of these… it may well be the saving of the newspaper industry
Now all he has to do is find the 300,000 initial buyers (total sales figures for the iPad since the “opening day” are not readily available) and convince them that they need to pay for all of his newspapers so they can be read on their iPads. Unfortunately, I would have to guess that many of these iPad owners aren’t exactly the WSJ crowd so he may want to lay off the savior talk for the short term.
So we ask, yet again, are there ANY newspapers that you are willing to pay for online? Is there content from one source that you require so specifically that you are willing to pay for it? Let us know. Maybe your answers will help the newspaper folks to move closer to or further away from Murdoch’s call to arms.