Rupert Murdock, whose News Corp, owns everything from Fox Television, to the Wall Street Journal, to the New York Post and media outlets all around the world, took a look at his financial statements for his fiscal year ending in June and came to a business decision:
You’re going to start paying for his content.
Realizing that ad revenues may never recover to previous levels, Murdoch declared that the era of a free online news was over.
“Quality journalism is not cheap,” said Murdoch.
“The digital revolution has opened many new and inexpensive distribution channels, but it has not made content free”
“We intend to charge for all our news websites.”
News Corporation reported a a $3.4 Billion dollar loss for the financial year ending in June.
Murdoch said he was “willing to take the risk of leading the industry towards a pay-per-view model”.
“I believe that if we’re successful, we’ll be followed fast by other media.”
“We’ll be asserting our copyright at every point.”
Who is going to pay for Fox News content when CNN is free?
Mr. Murdock is saying if Fox starts charging for their content then CNN and others will follow.
But what if CNN doesn’t follow?
What if ABCnews.com doesn’t follow?
What if news remains free on thousands of sites on the net?
What if Murdock leads this revolution and no one follows?
Maybe Mr. Murdock should have listened to his own advice he offered just a month ago when he said
“The economy is going to take years and years to recover”, and just accept revenues are going to be down until the economy recovers.
Or Murdock maybe proven right and people will start paying for content.
But Murdock will not be leading the charge.
Because just this month, ESPN Magazine (ESPN is owned by Disney which also owns ABC) started charging for access to its site.
So actually ESPN is leading the charge.
The question is how successful the “pay for access” plan will be.
We know people do pay for access to the Wall Street Journal online, and ESPN is the definitive sports brand, but will people pay for to access to the NY Post?
I think that is an entirely different matter.