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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

Murdoch + iNewspaper « Previous | |Next »
December 5, 2010

Emily Bell on Murdoch's iPad experiment in The Guardian refers to Murdoch's view that iPads are "game-changers" and his alliance with Steve Jobs of Apple to launch The Daily, a tablet-only paper with "tabloid sensibilities and newspaper intelligence" in the US. I interpret that shift to infotainment as a recognition of the threat that once advertising moves online then moving newsprint around can never make a profit.

Bell says that:

Murdoch like so many is caught between wanting revenues to reach the levels they have for packaged print products, and to retain some influence through publishing news products. The iPad is seen as being very appealing by the non-digital for a couple of reasons. The first is that you surrender control only to Steve Jobs, not the rest of the internet... The second is that you have a slightly more certain fix on revenues. But only slightly.

The question is do we want this? Is Murdoch's content information that we don't need? I don't think that this is the future. For instance I don't need Murdoch's copntent like I need the Lightroom processing software for my photography. I'll pay for the latter not the former.

As Bill Thompson points out at Open Democracy print is being replaced by digital distribution and network-based forms of expression are taking over its role as the main conduit for cultural development and the dissemination of ideas, offering to do more with less, turning the fixed text into an an active document and moving us from a one-way model of publishing to a world that can take full advantage of rich complexity of interaction and social media.

Thompson goes on to say that:

However protracted the decline [of newspapers and print media] it is happening, and it is clear that printed newspapers and magazines and broadcast television and radio have peaked as our primary tools for sharing news and opinion, that books are already being superseded when it comes to the heavy lifting of spreading and reinforcing ideas, and that interactive services based on easy online publishing, social media and the facilitation of physical propinquity are replacing pulp-based texts and linearly-scheduled programmes as the main ways in which we will acquire our knowledge of those things we collectively believe to be true about the world - the ‘news’.

We don't really need newspapers in their printed form---The Times has stopped being a newspaper when it went behind a paywall, because it is no longer generally available and omnibus account of the news of the day, broadly read in the community. As Clay Shirkey points out The Times is becoming the online newsletter of the UK’s conservative political party.

In the context of Murdoch's intense dislike of the open internet we need journalism as disclosure--as Wikileaks is currently doing-- and good and diverse interpretation of events. Murdoch's success in media leads to media dominance (his motivation is money and power: power and money) becomes a problem for democracy, and this is more important than Murdoch's bottom line.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 10:12 PM | | Comments (5)


It's happening with movies---I never watch movies in a cinema anymore. The tipping point for me was the ads they show first.Yuk.The movie is being used to sell adverts. I watch movies on a DVD at home.

the era of printed rivers of gold is well and truly behind us.

Well yes, its content. That's why people seek out the Guardian and internet rather than the tabloids.
They are just not prpared to abandon tabloid models designed to eliminate rather than foster content.
Murdoch's attitude seems to be, as ever, egocentric in the extreme.
Why expect us to buy rubbish
he wouldn't buy himself?

An important point missed in this Murdoch issue is that Murdoch himself is moving towards his end. Yes, what he has created will go on in a more modern form with different heads but essentially it will go on without him.
The future of news,control and revenue is not the way it was for him. It is the new internet way and it will be for others to build. I am sure that he realises that.

Fairfax is on the skids. The revenue decline of the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age is rapid: each has seen its annual profits fall from about $100 million to about $20 million in the past few years.

Declining circulation and revenues in those core properties, and no articulated strategy for properly monetising them online implies a survival challenge: surviving as newspapers.