Rupert Murdoch thinks you’re a hostage to news.com.au.
He thinks that because you’re a hostage you’ll happily fork over funds to read content on his website (this is despite the fact you’re already contributing through the advertising he puts there) that you used to get for free.
His announcement today that News Ltd’s announcement will start charging people to access content on all its website is an interesting one. As others have already pointed out, it’s not paying readers leaving News Ltd papers in droves that are causing so much of the problem, it’s paying advertisers – especially classified advertisers.
Fine, Rupert, it’s your content. Charge for it if you want. But I’m not sure if your model will work. Here’s a few reasons why:
- RSS – I already get my news feeds dumped onto one page for easy access. Now I’ll have one feed less.
- abc.net.au, brisbanetimes.com.au, cnn.com, ninemsn.com.au, Crikey (okay I do subscribe but it has a lot of free content as well), the Huffington Post, Twitter…
- Finding a model that works for mobile devices, not just desktops.
I might pay for some News Ltd content – a new feature from Trent Dalton or a column from Kathleen Noonan. But their general news reporting is often so atrocious that it’s almost worthless in the marketplace. And that’s why I found this quote from Murdoch so amusing:
“Quality journalism is not cheap, and an industry that gives away its content is simply cannibalising its ability to produce good reporting.”
Except, you’re generally not giving us quality reporting. Some of it’s outstanding. But most of it’s not. And people won’t pay for it.
If they understood the web better they might aready have signed up to AdSense and been done with it. You can read the whole story over at the news website (while it’s still free) if you’re keen. But for some reason, they’ve switched off comments on this particular story. Sure these people get the web enough to make this work. Sure they do.