Monday, November 23, 2009

News Corp and the battle to charge for content

Its been several months now since Rupert Murdoch told a press conference that he planned on charging for his papers by next June. However, he has recently informed those that will listen that this deadline may not be likely any more.

However, this battle to make content on newspaper sites such as The Times and The Sun chargeable, looks like its dragging in other media players....well, it has to, or else the existence of free news elsewhere will mean that most people simply won't visit news sites if it costs them.

First it was The Telegraph group that Murdoch indicated that he was in discussions with, when he told a Telegraph journalist (who surprisingly didn't report this slip) what he was up to.
Note: As Alan Greenslade points out, I'm sure its more than a little anti-competitive to have discussions with your opposition, as well as being somewhat foolhardy to admit to it for all regulatory bodies to hear.

Now it looks like Rupert is talking with Microsoft in the hope that Steve Bulmer will pay him money for his content if he removes it from Google listings.
As so many web commentators have pointed out... It is extremely easy to de-list all News Corp content from Google, by sticking a small file containing a single line of code on each website. But surprisingly, despite calling Google names (he's obviously run out of sticks & stones this year, perhaps after losing so much on MySpace)... this instant change hasn't been done. Perhaps News Corp, even temporarily needs Google!)

Yes, soon Bing could contain News Corp's lovely content. This could increase its share of the search engine market and now giving it potentially more tabloid news to display in local searches. I can't wait!
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