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I just came across a brief story saying that Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, which owns Fox News, along with the NY Post and Wall Street Journal, intends to start charging for online news content--in addition to the WSJ, which has long done so, profitably I understand.

Is News Corp losing money and thus forced to do this (which is what the story claims)? Is Murdoch just trying to further exploit his mouthbreathing wingnut and clueless center-right audience for yet more profit, figuring that they'll pay up so as to not be deprived of their daily hateful Kool Aid? Or is he just the first big media owner to make the leap from free to for-pay content, figuring that this is where the industry is going and that others will soon follow?

From the well-regarded tech news and review site Tom's Guide:

News Corp Charging for Online News
By Kevin Parrish, published on August 6, 2009 at 5:30 PM
Source: Tom's Guide US

News Corp is planning to charge readers for online news content.

Apparently News Corporation Ltd is looking to make up for lost revenue by charging readers access to its online news services. Although the company owns many newspapers around the world--including the Wall Street Journal--it currently only charges access to one online news website. However that's now going to change according to News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdock.

"The digital revolution has opened many new and inexpensive methods of distribution," Murdoch told analysts in a conference call.  "But it has not made content free. Accordingly we intend to charge for all our news websites."

According to this brief article, they might start doing this as soon as later this year, using the same model currently used by its WSJ news site. It won't matter at all to me, as I don't read or have any use for any of Murdoch's "news" outlets. But I wonder how it'll work out, and whether this is going to be the start of a big trend, especially with more respectable (if still flawed) news outlets.

And I really loved this kicker, from Mr. Arghhh Ye Matey! himself:

"Quality journalism is not cheap, and an industry that gives away its content is simply cannibalizing its ability to produce good reporting," Murdoch said.

Considering how much he spends on Fox, I'd argue that poor quality journalism isn't cheap, either!

Originally posted to kovie on Sat Aug 08, 2009 at 04:41 PM PDT.


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