Internet Killed the Newspaper Star: Murdoch Plans to Charge

Do you have a cool synthesizer song in your head yet?

As a fan of technology, I couldn't help but jump onto Rupert Murdoch's quotes regarding the fact that journalism can no longer afford to give away content on the internet. In fact, he expects, according to the reports, to begin charging for all online content. "We intend to charge for all our news websites."

Ouch!

Would you ever pay for something you can get for free? I have even started debating whether to keep the local newspaper or not. I like the articles, but there is so much more available online! Yet on the other hand, as an aspiring amateur writer, I want to keep the hope alive that someday I might be able to make a living doing this.

If big names like Murdoch's group goes out, and then others with him, how will we freelancers get our news to work from? Some people make a living at blogging, but I don't, so my news comes first from a "real" source, and then I add my commentary. If the traditional media goes away, so does my source, and a lot of sources for other small bloggers as well.

Yet I don't think charging for online news will work. Businesses have tried to figure it out before and it didn't really work all that well. It would seem that perhaps technology, and its applications, have moved too fast for us to keep up with. We thought that having free news was awesome (and it is!), but now we have to figure out how to keep those organizations solvent, or we'll lose that free news!

So what are your ideas? How can a news corporation keep its news free, but still stay in business?


And, just in case you want to watch the video that prophesied the end of all things due to technology, here it is:

2 comments:

Stephanie's Mommy Brain said...

Interesting. Here are a few of my thoughts.

1. Newspapers and magazines make more money from advertising than they do from subscriptions.
2. News websites already have ads on them.
3. Charging for a subscription or exclusive areas of a website is a pretty common thing to do. (The Providence Journal already does this.) His challenge is to charge enough to make a profit (shouldn't be hard because he'll be charging for what already exists) but not so much much that few people will buy.

I'm not sure that the free news websites is the cause of the problem. I'm sure they have contributed. But it seems to me his real problem is that his advertising revenue has dropped due to the economy and recession.

Maybe instead of charging for his websites, he should restructure his advertising system.

As far as would I pay for online news, no. We don't subscribe to a newspaper so I don't see us subscribing to a website. However, online sites are Joel's primary news source. So maybe if all the "free" sites were gone we would pay.

Dan said...

Stephanie, thank you so much for this comment. I like the idea of Murdoch (and the rest of the lot, for that matter) restructuring their ad programs vice charging for content.

Also I wonder if these news sites would continue to display ads if they charged a subscription. I reckon they would, as our newspaper does.

It's an odd situation, and the news outlets will have to work it out while I, fortunately, get to watch from the sidelines.