Friday, 15 May 2009

Murdoch and the war against free content

The different between the PC based Internet and the mobile based internet is the cost of content. In the pc internet world people have got used to not pay for content. If they want news they can go to hundreds of newspaper sites or content sites and even places like Google news which links to all the top stories and just reads them. They do not have to pay they just have to accept that the content will have ads around them. On mobiles people stated to get used to paying for content via micro payments such as an enhanced text message cost.

Now with the rise of smart and internet enabled phones publishers are once again giving their content away free. On my mobile within two clicks i can read all the news from the BBC, The Sun, The Guardian and Sky and all for free. However for the news international titles among them that may not be for much longer.

In a recent Q&A session with journalists Murdoch announced that he intends to sort out the "freebie" culture of news on the internet and to start progressively introduce charging models and fee structures on his online newspaper portfolio that includes The Times Online, The Sun and The News of the World.

The business model so far for newspapers has been to give the content away, build an audience and then monetise that audience predominantly though digital display ads. Unfortunately virtually all have not managed to make the same revenues as the print products which are still supporting the cost of the content creation hence the current round of massive reduction in costs seen across the newspaper industries and especially the regional press industry.

Murdoch has one model in the Wall Street Journal which has managed to increase its circulation and also charge for its online content but it is very specific in its content nature. If anyone can succeed it will be Murdoch and the £3.6bn in cash he has in his empire to fund trials of different business models. Media owners will be watching this with keen interest as if he can make this work they will all follow and this will probably spare thousands of journalists from loosing their jobs around the world.

So the next year will see whether Mr Murdoch really can be Citizen Cane or whether the great newspaper man of our time will turn into the next King Canute.

No comments:

Post a Comment