If you are going to listen to someone else’s advice about the financial future of news media, would you choose the various associate professors enamored of the free-flowing cacophony of the World Wide Web or the man who made his billions running a media empire?
In an interview with one of his News Corp. employees at the Fox Business Network at something called the Cable Show, the annual conference of the National Cable and Telecommunications Association, Rupert Murdoch flatly stated, "People are getting used to getting everything on the Net for free. That’s going to have to change."
I remember listening to Murdoch address the American Society of Newspaper Editors a couple of years back. The now 78-year-old native of Australia seemed to be fascinated with the potential of the Internet, describing people like himself and most of the editors in the audience as immigrants in the online world, while people like his children and grandchildren are natives.
When Murdoch purchased The Wall Street Journal, it was widely rumored he would abandon the paper’s subscription model and make it free, supported by advertising that would flock to be in front of the paper’s millions of online readers from around the world. After all, the New York Times had abandoned its Times Select paid content in a bid for ad dollars.
Murdoch never made the switch and now the New York paper is reconsidering.
In fact, Murdoch told Cavuto in that recent interview, as reported on internetnews.com, "Take the New York Times. They cannot get their advertising rates up because the inventory of display advertising on the Web is doubling every year. …
"They’re never going to make money on an advertising model to replace the money they’re losing. …
"The fact is that no one’s making money with free content on the Web except search," meaning Google specifically.
Of Google, Murdoch asked, "The question is should we be allowing Google to steal all our copyrights?"
Listen to Murdoch discuss in a July 2006 lecture how the Internet is changing the media landscape: