May 072009

rupert-murdoch-001Just a quick follow up on Death Cycle of NewspapersNews Corp will charge for newspaper websites, says Rupert Murdoch – Current days of free internet will soon be over, says media mogul (The Guardian)

Rupert Murdoch expects to start charging for access to News Corporation‘s newspaper websites within a year as he strives to fix a ­”malfunctioning” business model.

Encouraged by booming online subscription revenues at the Wall Street Journal, the billionaire media mogul last night said that papers were going through an “epochal” debate over whether to charge. “That it is possible to charge for content on the web is obvious from the Wall Street Journal’s experience,” he said.

The key points are:

  • The Times, the Sunday Times, the Sun and the News of the World might charge “We’re absolutely looking at that.” moves could begin “within the next 12 months‚” adding: “The current days of the internet will soon be over.”
  • Plunging earnings from newspapers led the way downwards as News Corporation’s quarterly operating profits slumped by 47% to $755m, although exceptional gains on sale of assets boosted bottom-line pretax profits to $1.7bn, in line with last year’s figure
  • Dwindling advertising revenue across print and television divisions depressed the News Corp numbers despite box office receipts from Twentieth Century Fox movies such as Slumdog Millionaire and Marley and Me. But Murdoch said he believed signs of hope were appearing.

Alan Schram gave some insight into Warren Buffets thinking this week (huffington post):

Newspapers: Berkshire would not buy most newspapers at ANY price. Some have only unending losses to look forward to. Twenty years ago newspapers were essential, with pricing power and monopoly over local advertising, but their “essentially” eroded. Readers no longer need them, and hence advertisers do not need them either. There is nothing on the horizon to change that.

Who is right? Amber Smith at Save The Media has a tip – Ask Yourself: What Would Google Do?  

Three rules in the age of Google:

  • Focus on the user, and all else will follow.
  • Do one thing really, really well.
  • Fast is better than slow.

Have a read of her old vs new ways of thinking about newspapers – lots of community and service based stuff. I completely and arbitrarily re-jigged her points. Heh: 

  • Old: Newspaper a product
  • New: Newspaper a service
  • Old: eyeballs
  • New: participatory audience
  • Old: Mass, broadcast media 
  • New: niche, geo-local, interest based 
  • Old: Population based
  • New: peer to peer rippling of news stories
  • Old: Scarcity – print costs, limited ad room, etc
  • New: long tail of unlimited pixels online
  • Old: Web as another broadcast out medium/channel (what I call Heritage Media Online)
  • New: reciprocity of links, place in interconnectedness
  • Old: Artificial focus groups to find out readers tastes
  • New: ask them.
  • Old: Gave the readers what the papers thought they needed
  • New: Monitor online behaviour
  • Old: Linear access to content in different sections of the paper
  • New: Hello search, tagging, bookmarking, popular by votes, popular by comments
  • Old: The Daily Miracle occurred once a day
  • New: News is always on 24/7
  • Old: Deadlines
  • New: Twitter has it already
  • Old: Branding and Form strong (fonts etc)
  • New: RSS and distribution of content stripped of Form. Googley.
  • Old: Editor sits to the right hand side of the Gods of Media
  • New: Readers will decide, edit, correct, argue and harangue en masse. 
  • Old: Newspapers delivered the same meal to each reader
  • New: personalization. Sport vs Cartoons vs Business vs Entertainment. You choose. 

And heaps heaps more. (hat tip @rodPeno)

More than once I’ve blogged about the fact that if the content doesn’t have a value-add, we will go to the original source (doctor that blogs, judge that Facebooks, victim on Twitter, Police social media press releases complete with vids and photos). Murdoch may well be right – but I want my news with convenient iTunes type features (without DRM thanks) rather than clunky unwieldy, comment based,  community-less content management systems (CMS) like most of ‘em have now.  And the whole triple and quadruple dipping – charging subs, charging advertisers, charging for marketing info and whatever else passes for a revenue stream these days will make us more and more disinclined to pay anything for anything. 

Totally off topic, what’s with the extra ads on Foxtel? I thought if you paid a 100 bucks a month, for crappy programming, it should at least be ad free? o.O 

Trivia: A charity fundraiser saw lunch with Mr Murdoch auctioned on eBay for 57,100, whereas Warren Buffet’s lunch (he auctions it on ebay most years) goes for 100’s of thousands of dollars (2005, $351k, 2006 $620k). Me, I’d go to lunch with Amber Smith (more affordable :P)

Apr 282007

Huge potential to make a massive impact here – fundamentals of an offline community needing online tools, and peer-to-peer support. Heartfelt stuff: Digital Content Editor: Are you passionate about online delivery? Innovative new online project Targeted at a teen audience Bring your CMS expertise The Starlight Children’s Foundation is a leading national charity with a mission to brighten the lives of seriously ill and hospitalized children and their families across Australia. Starlight is supported through the generosity of Corporate and Community supporters and individuals. This is a new role for a new program which will be delivered on line for Continue Reading…

Apr 022007

From Ethos – I’m going to assume it’ s this Ethos link, as I found the job on (as usual, can’t link to crappy User Generated Content (UGC) – Technology Manager Major Web-Digital Investment Area Unify and integrate – build a UGC centre of excellence Most Exciting Opportunity in the Industry This global media organisation is undertaking a major transformation initiative in its Australian businesses, leading to an unparalleled new opportunity for an experienced and visionary digital technology manager. This role will report directly to the Group CTO and work closely with the Group Architecture team, with Product Continue Reading…

Mar 232007

Here’s one for you my lovelies: Content Manager/Developer Sydney Location Fantastic Team Environment Challenging Work – Fast Pace Be responsible for the day-to-day delivery of Australia’s number 1 home and garden website with this hands-on role at a leading online media company. The successful candidate will have a combination of online technology skills, a feel for content and a vision for the future of the online medium. has recently joined forces with the REA Group, which runs an international portfolio of real estate websites – including Austalia’s market leader: This is an excellent opportunity join a small team Continue Reading…

Feb 062007

Clearly the distributive, syndicated nature of Web 2.0 and the business models around that have completely passed Fairfax by: Fairfax Business Media ends Factiva and AAP News Centre contract Fairfax Business Media has announced that effective 31 March 2007, its content will no longer be accessible via Factiva and AAP News Centre. The decision to discontinue syndications follows our decision to develop our own channel and content management systems. As we have indicated with the launch of Fairfax Business Media aims to build a fully digital approach to its growing market opportunities. Fairfax Business Media is developing a new Continue Reading…

Dec 292005

One area I believe that online communities can really, really make a difference is with parents who are struggling with sick kids. Being up in the middle of the night, worrying and then being able to get online and chat/post about your concerns with other parents who are also up in the night worrying helps assuage those concerns. All those unanswered fears and questions and doubts that are disappear during daylight are impossible to ignore at 3am! An example of a health community for children that has moved from portal and information dissemination to community and conversation is Children with Continue Reading…

Nov 282005

w00t I’m having lunch at Zinc with Erietta of Cyberworx and Josephine Sabine of Spot Wireless tomorrow. Erietta is mastering Drupal at the moment. Drupal is an open source content management platform that handles the collaborative modules very well. Plus it has a nice online community of developers who also happen to be a bunch of sweeties. Talking of nice online communities of developers, The Wireless Developer Network, has some great tools. Not least of which is an Avantgo feed. Which I guess is the minimum you would expect from a wireless community *rolls eyes*. If Jo is silly enough Continue Reading…

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