Murdoch: Paywall Announcement 3-4 Weeks Away


During a third quarter earnings call for News Corp. yesterday, the content paywall’s number one proponent, Rupert Murdoch, gave some fuzzy “details” about the new way he suspects people will be buying their information. Murdoch has had the loudest rallying cry when it comes to fighting the “Internet is free” mantra. Along the way he has taken on Google as well, saying that they are the ones who truly profit from all the content creators’ hard work (especially News Corp.’s).

The LA Times reports

News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch said the company planned to hold a press conference “in three to four weeks” to announce details of a new subscription model for news and other digital content.

People with knowledge of the situation said that Murdoch is poised to announce details of plans to form a consortium that would charge for news distributed online and on portable devices. News Corp. executives met with publishers last summer to discuss joining forces to collect fees from readers who access stories via the Internet or their gadgets.

“Today, we’re in final discussions with a number of publishers, device makers and technology companies and soon we’ll deliver an innovative subscription model that will deliver content to consumers whenever, wherever they want it,” Murdoch said Tuesday, during News Corp.’s third-quarter earnings call.

Admittedly I am more than a little curious. I do find it kind of humorous that Mr. Murdoch touts an “innovative subscription model”. Right now, they are all innovative since the idea of widespread “pay for content” options don’t really exist. In fact, most “models” that have been rolled out thus far have fizzled. Just ask New York Newsday how many people are willing to pay for their news.

What appears to be truly innovative is that News Corp. seems to have gathered a group of content producers who are going to be making a run at this together.

Under the proposal, diverse news organizations would contribute stories and videos to a website that could be accessed by those who pay subscription fees. The participants would each be compensated on a pro-rated basis, determined by the amount of content they contribute to the site.

Now that does sound different for sure but how it would look or how it would work is certainly up for debate. News Corp. would be using it’s Wall Street Journal technical expertise to run the deal.

No doubt Murdoch is a successful businessman and his brash nature has served him well in the past. How his cocksure attitude translates into the online space will have many people taking a close look to see if he still has it or if this whole paywall mantra makes it apparent that he has “jumped the shark”.

We always ask your opinion as to whether this model will get any traction, so we’ll do it again. Let’s look at it a little differently though. If you have one or two sources that you truly depend on or even just enjoy immensely, and they start charging for content would dismiss the idea out of hand or go along for the ride? What is your tolerance for how much you would pay if any at all?

  • http://www.bigpictureweb.com Josh Braaten

    Regrettably, I think Murdoch has a fighting chance. He’s not going after the folks that read this blog (or probably blogs in general). He’s going after people that watch TV and read the newspaper that are conditioned to pay for content.

    In my opinion, Murdoch’s media outposts consistently employ a good deal of FUD (fear, uncertainty, doubt), which is a very effective tool in getting folks to do what you want. If anyone is able to convince their audience that paying for content is the only good, morale, and American thing to do, it’s him.

    That said, personally, there’s no way I’d scale the pay wall.
    .-= Josh Braaten´s last blog ..Twitter, Flickr and Squarespace: Social Media Widgets are Live! =-.