Rupert Murdoch is Thinking Small


Rupert Murdoch has a new strategy, and it’s small-minded. It appears that the media mogul is toying with the idea of blocking Google’s access (i.e., omitted from search results) to News Corp’s content, and charging users a fee to view the subject matter. According to Murdoch, the Web is so big that advertising doesn’t pay off. It’s a matter of supply and demand and Murdoch doesn’t think there is enough advertising to go around. This would obviously result in smaller audiences, but he is banking that those who stick around will pay a toll to see News Corps’ content.

Here is Rupert Murdoch explaining his vision of the Internet.

News Corp is an enormous enterprise, but it amounts to only a teeny-weeny, itsy-bitsy sliver of the Internet. Why pay for News Corp content when you can get ALLLLLLLLLLL of this other stuff for free?  Murdoch’s latest move signals an empire in decline.  As individuals increasingly turn to blogs (like the Dark Horse Dispatch) and alternative media for information and entertainment, media giants are beginning to strain under their own weight.  As Jarvis Coffin of Huffington Post explains:

Online there is, in fact, plenty of advertising to go around allowing many, many publishers to feel like they are making serious money. The Internet landscape is dominated by those publishers, and collectively they are changing the rules, agreeing to work for lower prices and agreeing to be positively delighted with sales results that wouldn’t keep News Corp in corporate jet fuel for a week.

Exclusive indexing rights could be sold to one of Google’s competitors, like Bing!, or perhaps an ambitious start-up operation for TONS of cash. But the long-term viability of this strategy is questionable. The de-centralization of media won’t happen overnight, but Murdoch is ushering it along. Charging dues to access content will only exacerbate the problem for News Corp, creating an audience hungry for the content being provided by independent operations. As the audience for indy media grows, so too do the profits from advertising… which can be reinvested to produce better offerings… which further decreases the attractiveness of subscription fees for News Corp content.

Furthermore, Murdoch wants to change the laws regarding fair use that enable search engines like Google and Yahoo! to post portions of NewsCorp. content, which he says amounts to plagiarism. But, as Cory Doctorow of the Guardian explains, such a move would be self-defeating:

Of course, the elimination of fair use would present many problems to News Corp – because, as with all media companies, News Corp relies heavily on copyright exemptions to produce its own programming. I’m sure that, if there’s a lawyer who put this idea into Rupert’s head, she knows this. But I likewise believe that she would be perfectly willing to expand the legal department to the thousands of lawyers it would take to negotiate permission for all those uses if fair use goes away.

Online independent media outlets are changing the landscape and corporate media may be going downhill.

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One Response

  1. Let’s hope corporate media goes downhill, especially News Corp. I have a post up on my home page this weekend about Murdoch that you may enjoy. When I found the information, it made my eyes open.

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