I read today’s report on the Financial Times website about Rupert Murdoch announcing that New Corps would start charging for the content on ALL of its news websites with some bemusement. The idea the Murdoch and his well-fed corporate cronies truly believe that the public is willing to pay money to read The News of the World or Fox News online and is willing to bet the farm (i.e. his current Internet ad sales income) on this “hunch”—for this inane plan clearly can’t be a result of focus groups—is mind-blowing in its delusional logic.
“We intend to charge for all our news websites,” Mr Murdoch said.
“If we’re successful, we’ll be followed by all media,” he added, predicting “significant revenues” from charging for differentiated news online.
He warned that “the big competition will be coming from the BBC,” which offers online news for free, but said: “Our policy is to win.”
Good luck! Charging the public for something they can easily get for free elsewhere—information is a very slippery commodity, and creating profits from it is like catching rainwater in your hands these days—is a very poorly thought out strategy, one that will result in LESS income and not more.
I’d bet my cock on it.
I could write out a long-winded essay about why this is a very, very bad idea with epic and humiliating failure written all over it, but I think I can sum it up succinctly enough here to allow Mr. Murdoch to shed several layers of the highly paid News Corps upper management who are feeding him this bullshit. Rupert, buddy, this is a gift from me to you, and you can have for free:
PEOPLE DO NOT WANT TO PAY FOR STUFF ANYMORE. THERE IS TOO MUCH FREE SHIT COMPETING FOR THEIR ATTENTION ALREADY. BESIDES THAT, NO ONE HAS ANY MONEY.
Put up a barrier to Page Six, and I’d not miss it for a millisecond. How about you? If I can’t get to the latest Amy Winehouse gossip on News of the World’s website for free, guess what? I can read that same shit for free on Perez Hilton, Gawker or TMZ.
And AS IF there is no abundance of right-wing fucktardery all over the Internet? Make Fox News.com a pay site? There’s always Free Republic, NewsMax or Michelle Malkin’s blog for that low IQ flavor of opinion.
Rupert, mate, you’ve making a big mistake. The hand you’re holding ain’t what it was a decade ago. Your overhead must be a bitch.
And if you’re thinking “Well, what’s your solution to the problem, Mister Smarty Pants?” Sorry to disappoint you, Rupie baby, but there ain’t one. Print is DEAD and no one will pay for your content online if you charge for it. I’d consider that a real dilemma as a business owner, if I was you. You know what I’m saying? Here’s some more free advice: Why not sell off your print properties—cash out now—and leave someone else holding the bag while there is still some value left to extract from them?
And if you want to know how I really feel…