In an interview with Sky News Australia, the News Corp. tycoon laid out his vision for the future of the news business, which bears little resemblance to the present state of the news business. Murdoch said he would soon begin charging for online content, block Google searches and Google News aggregation, and take those hoodlums at the BBC to court for stealing his content.
We’re going to chalk that last one up to a senior moment. Can you really picture those objectiphiles at the Beeb cribbing from Fox News and the like?
There’s something compelling, even in a tyrant like Murdoch, about an old newspaper man trying to save his empire. Hell, nobody really understands how the current media tumult is going to shake out, and maybe he’s onto something. But what Murdoch is talking about isn’t brave new thinking. It’s been tried.
There was a time, not so long ago, when there was no Google and newspapers tried to charge people for online content. It didn’t work.
Google has succeeded where newspapers have failed because from the beginning the company embraced the new media paradigm: Information wants to be free.
On the other hand, it would be nice to no longer have to see Fox News headlines in Google News. —PZS
In recent months, Murdoch his lieutenants have stepped up their war of words with Google, accusing it of “kleptomania” and acting as a “parasite” for including in its Google News pages. But asked why News Corp executives had not chosen to simply remove their websites entirely from Google’s search indexes—a simple technical operation—Murdoch said just such a move was on the cards.
“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.”