Rupert Murdoch, the Chairman of News Corporation talks about making internet news content payable. He says, there is huge cost involved in generating quality news material and it cannot come for free. He adds, people read free content just because they read at Google.com or MSN.com; they link brand Google and Microsoft with the news while they have little role in ensuring the accuracy of content.
More from this video — Sky News : Interview with Rupert Murdoch
Some important points from the talk:
1. He might remove stories from Google’s search index as a way to encourage people to pay for content online.
2. There’s a doctrine called fair use for Search Engines, which he believes to be challenged in the courts and would bar it altogether. News Corp will take that slowly.
“I think we will, but that’s when we start charging,” he said. “We have it already with the Wall Street Journal. We have a wall, but it’s not right to the ceiling. You can get, usually, the first paragraph from any story – but if you’re not a paying subscriber to WSJ.com all you get is a paragraph and a subscription form.”
The 78-year-old mogul’s assertion is not actually correct: users who click through to screened WSJ.com articles from Google searches are usually offered the full text of the story without any subscription block. It is only users who find their way to the story through the Wall Street Journal’s website who are told they must subscribe before they can read further.
This is a war between the Open Service model following giants like Google, MSN and Yahoo versus the Subscription Model following giants like News Corp. Victory of the first group is likely to benefit the mass users while it can affect the quality news producers badly.
Full content of Wall Street Journal is already paid for long time but the site does not seem to be losing any significant traffic. Its Alexa ranking seems stable and growing for more than a year.
Online WSJ is believed to have more than a million paid subscribers now. The Economist and Bloomberg have already said that they are following the subscription model very soon.
Now Google has to play its ball. After all it benefits from keeping people online and making the users move from one channel to another in search of news. If users stick to few sites, Google is gonna lose. It cannot simply tolerate this.
Yahoo’s shifted focus on generating online content might help Google’s cause and make life difficult for Murdoch and family. Good for the consumers like us. The battle has begun. Lets wait and watch what’s coming ahead.