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TRUTH TELLER: Rupert Murdoch made another push for paid content online and argued the vitality of the news business during an interview with Fox Business Network from the All Things D conference in Carlsbad, Calif. on Thursday. Murdoch, who as the head of News Corp. and owner of The Wall Street Journal has reportedly deployed a task force within his company to find strategies to monetize content from its papers, said one of the mistakes newspapers have made is rushing to the Web to get a bigger audience without charging users for their product. “You’re going to have to pay for your favorite newspaper on the Web,” he told Fox’s Brian Sullivan. “[Free content online]…that’s going to stop. Newspapers will be selling subscriptions on the Web. The whole thing [premium content] will be there. The Web as it is today will be vastly improved, there will be much in them and you’ll pay for them.” Murdoch forecast consumers will receive their news from mostly electronic forms within the next 10 to 15 years, as technology improves and rolls out to the public.
He also argued media companies would still be able to obtain investment from private equity, but said a bailout from the federal government is impossible. “We would never take money from the government,” he said. “We’d give up our freedoms and everything else to criticize or to play our full role in the community. Nothing that News owns will ever take money from the government and I don’t believe even The New York Times would. I don’t think the government would even do it.” Murdoch however, did predict the demise of one paper in Chicago. Being that both Chicago daily newspapers — the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times — are under financial pressure, “[In Chicago] one newspaper will go away. It’s very hard to see how the Sun-Times can keep going. I thought it was very hard 10 years ago when I owned it.”
— Stephanie D. Smith