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Murdoch's rant « Previous | |Next »
October 12, 2009

In his speech at the World Media Summit, Beijing, China Rupert Murdoch showed that he did not understand the internet. In it he said:

Too often the conventional media response to the internet has been inchoate. A medium once thought too powerful has often seemed impotent in the past few years. Of course there should be a price paid for quality content, and yet large media organizations have been submissive in the face of the flat-earthers who insisted that all content should be free all the time. The sun does not orbit the earth, and yet this was precisely the premise that the press passively accepted, even though there have been obvious signs that readers recognize the reality that they should pay a price.

Flat earthers? Doesn't News Ltd use Google for free? Aren't there people already paying for good content at the Wall Street Journal? I cannot see the point that Murdoch is trying to make with the analogy to flat earthers. Murdoch continues:
There are many readers who believe that they are paying for content when they sign up with an internet service provider, presuming that they have bought a ticket to a content buffet. That misconception thrived on the silence of inarticulate institutions which were unable to challenge the fallacies and humbug of the e-establishment...The Philistine phase of the digital age is almost over. The aggregators and the plagiarists will soon have to pay a price for the co-opting of our content. But if we do not take advantage of the current movement toward paid-for content, it will be the content creators, the people in this hall, who will pay the ultimate price and the content kleptomaniacs will triumph.

When I signed up to an ISP I was under no illusions that I had bought a ticket to a content buffet. I was far more interested in publishing my own content/commentary.

Now that makes me a plagarist co-opting News Ltd content in Murdoch's eyes. Don't the reporters at News Ltd rip off bloggers and photographers and other journos without explicit permission, or without even bothering to link to them? Oh, stealing copy from rivals is seen as accepted fair use.

Of course Murdoch's real target is Google and Yahoo, not the bloggers, as it is the former who challenges his power. Now gives a headline which is linked to the original article, two or three lines quoted followed by more direct links to the article. So it refers readers back to Murdoch's newspapers. So Murdoch both wants the traffic from Google and for Google to pay him. Google has no reason to do so and they are powerful enough to resist Murdoch's demands to pay up. Murdoch wants a share of Google's income stream.

Shouldn't Murdoch be paying Google for carrying the index of the stories in the first place?

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 8:50 AM | | Comments (7)


Murdoch and company seem incapable of grasping the fact that people aren't interested in paying for their content because their content is rubbish. There are 50 online writers, none employed by a major media company, who I would read and often do read before I would consider reading anything written by the partisan hacks at News Limited. In fact I've pretty much stopped reading Larvatus Prodeo because of the number of "Look what Shanahan/Sheridan/Milne or whoever has written now" posts. I mean who cares what they write? Their pretensions to being serious journalists and commentators have been blown out of the water by the sheer weight of quality content that is available for free, and likely to remain that way.

when Murdoch first started this paywall talk I thought he might have some idea what he was talking about. Someone with that much money and power surely couldn't be that clueless.

I've changed my mind. He really is out of his depth.

I wonder what he fears losing most - the money or the political power.

Ninemsn announced the other day they won't be charging for online news. They must be over the moon at the thought of picking up the News audience.

Between paywalls and MSM trying to restrict journalist's use of social media, the smart journos would be thinking about jumping ship. The sooner they do, the sooner we'll see whatever it is we're going to end up with. They can't all go to the ABC.

We are witnessing the fall of the great media empires who define the biggest stumbling blocks to creating their firewall model is the taxpayer-funded content appearing free on websites such as those of the ABC and BBC.This threatens their business models.

The language of the media empires is becoming rather extreme---we are now free-riders and pirates who are claiming they're entitled to the newspapers property.

The MSM is reaping the whirlwind it's been sowing for years. The overwhelming majority of 'news' is just recycled he said/she said material pushed on the MSM by PEOPLE WHO WANT TO GET THEIR VIEWS ACROSS. Therefore if the MSM stops broadcasting the content emanating from politicians and corporations and think tanks and so on, those parties will find alternative ways of getting the material to the public. They've morphed into nothing but megaphones for the rich and powerful and now the rich and powerful don't need them any more.

It would be different if we got any actual reporting from the MSM but we get bugger-all. That's why it's important to bolster the resources and independence of the ABC, so it can employ more proper journalists as opposed to hacks whose idea of a news story is to copy and paste chunks of a press release while telephoning some anonymous sources to get a few partisan comments, and then add a few random words like 'backflip' or 'under pressure'.

Murdoch's newspapers have gone out of their way to embrace Google and Yahoo etc because of their view that the search engines and aggregators helped build their brands and drive traffic to their sites.

Bigpond is an IP that saw into the future on this issue and developed a blog format of their own 3 years ago that enabled them to sell advertising space on. Whether its news,politics or your belly button it doesn't matter because the purpose of these things is to blanket society. Like news papers its the dollar that is generated that is most important.