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)

Jun 172008

Old video – Live Feed is News Feed – one of the most successful viral marketing tools ever – and nearly got turned off! Even Rupert Murdoch thinks they are competitors instead of understanding the symbiotic nature of content vs distribution social networks. Here’s a piece from bloggingstocks “will myspace help or hurt newscorp over the long haul”? : The problem here for News Corp. is that users are fickle and may eventually find another MySpace in the future (obviously, Facebook is an example of how social networking continues to evolve and how any big brand in this arena can Continue Reading…

Mar 092008

I’ve cut and paste to make a list – for a summary on each one that is in the top 50 list and why, go to The Guardian: (UnkyDunky etc) (sacked for blogging) (you know you want it) (cats and the first Internet language) *waves* hello I know you visit I love West Wing similar to Belle de Jour now a journo o.O (Hi Hugh on @twitter/gapingvoid ) Continue Reading…

Jul 102007

Anyone here use Facebook? *poke* poke* From Ad Age: 23-Year-Old Mark Zuckerberg Has Google Sweating Idealist Entrepreneur’s Facebook Offers Something Search Doesn’t–Distribution By Abbey Klaassen Just as Google has become what some people call the operating system for search, Facebook is turning itself into the operating system for social networking. While Google knows what millions of people are searching for, Facebook has something the search giant hasn’t been able to grow: a network of connections between people that creates a viral distribution platform unrivaled by any portal or search engine. In late May, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the social Continue Reading…

Nov 302006

The Walkley Awards are all about Excellence in Journalism. And now, one assumes, Pugilism. So after the kerfuffle between Crikey’s Stephen Mayne and NewsCorp’s Glenn Milne we ask – what award will Glenn Milne will receive? “Come on settle down, it’s nothing special – just another pissed journo,” he(Stephen Mayne) told the audience. He appeared unfazed by the incident and said he had a special announcement to make on behalf of Rupert Murdoch. “That is the former Sunday Telegraph political correspondent Glenn Milne, sponsored by Fosters,” he said Glenn Milne waltzing with security(?) at the Walkley Awards. Foto gracias to Continue Reading…

Aug 312006

…I heard that was also a Perth based company (see prev. post). Probably the remoteness of it all. However checking website they list only a Melb and Syd address. So without naming names *points a finger at the bloke from PBL* someone must’ve got it wrong the other night! Lachlan Murdoch buys into DVD rental firm FORMER News Corporation executive Lachlan Murdoch has chosen a relatively unknown DVD subscription service to launch his corporate interests in Australia, paying about $650,000 for a 9.6 per cent stake in Quickflix.Mr Murdoch began his lightening raid on the Perth-based company just Continue Reading…

Jun 262006

Techdirt (a free service of techdirt corporate intelligence) had this insightful little bite from Mike of the seems-like-it department: Which Is More Important: Technology Or Community? from the seems-like-it dept There’s an interesting little blurb making the rounds today about Rupert Murdoch claiming Google could have bought MySpace three months before he did at half the price. That’s interesting in its own right — but in thinking about how few acquisitions of this type Google does, it becomes clear that Google values technology over community by a long shot. The reason Google didn’t want to buy MySpace was because it Continue Reading…

May 252006

Robert Andrews at has a snippet on some jobs working with Citizen Murdoch. I’ll quote it in full as its only a wee thing: Rupert Murdoch’s News International is to embark on a big expansion of its internet communities commitment this summer. Recruitment advertisements have gone out for a number of positions “on several levels, in a new online community team as part of an exciting project”. The drive, which is in an early stage, will see the addition of an online community editor, who will create new forums on hot topics and will seed user-generated content from readers, Continue Reading…

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