Tags: murdoch | online | charges

Murdoch Plans to Charge for Online Content

Thursday, 07 May 2009 08:42 PM

By Rick Pedraza

Media mogul Rupert Murdoch has pulled together a team of experts from his global enterprises to end the free lunch at the online buffet.

Murdoch, chairman and CEO of News Corp., wants the team “to create a system for charging for online content in an environment where consumers have come to expect to get it for free,” The Daily Beast reports.

Murdoch indicated he would like to begin charging for the online content within a year. His News Corp. owns an array of film, television, newspaper, and online media companies, including the Fox News Channel, the Wall Street Journal, MySpace, The London Times, and the social networking Web site MySpace.

The plan is expected to require users to obtain additional hardware to deliver content in a “user-friendly way,” according to The Beast.

Murdoch, who describes himself as a “digital immigrant” and the Internet as “an emerging medium that is not my native language,” recently went on a buying spree of social-networking sites such as MySpace and digital-content management and delivery systems, The Beast reported.

Murdoch is enlisting the aid of Les Hinton, a longtime trusted lieutenant and CEO of Dow Jones, which News Corp. took over in 2007. Also aboard is Murdoch’s 36-year-old son James, the London-based CEO of News Corp.’s Asian and European operations since 2007.

Sources say News Corp. executive Jonathan Miller, the former AOL head who recently was appointed chairman and CEO of News Corp.’s Digital Media Group and chief digital officer of News Corp. is talking to publishers and other content providers about the plan.

Murdoch is not alone in trying to figure out a way to charge for online content. Potential competitors include Journalism Online entrepreneur Steven Brill (creator of “Court TV” and “American Lawyer”); L. Gordon Crovitz (former publisher of The Wall Street Journal); and Leo Hindery Jr. of InterMedia Partners, a private-equity firm.

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