Tags: murdoch | paid | content

Rupert Murdoch to Charge for All Internet News Content

Thursday, 06 Aug 2009 10:23 AM

By Dan Weil

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Rupert Murdoch has promised to charge for all of the news content he publishes online, from both newspapers and TV stations.

“We plan to charge for all our news web sites,” the News Corp. chairman told Wall Street analysts in a conference call.

"If we're successful, we'll be followed by all media," Murdoch says, predicting News Corp. will garner "significant revenues" from charging on the web.

It already has succeeded by charging online subscription fees for The Wall Street Journal and Barron’s.

While "the big competition will be coming from the BBC," which provides free news on the internet, "Our policy is to win," Murdoch says.

The press baron’s comments came after News Corp. reported a $203 million loss for the fourth quarter. Its only division to record a significant profit gain was cable networks, particularly Fox News, where operating income soared 50 percent.

Media companies have been forced to reconsider their business models, as advertising revenue struggles across virtually all media platforms, especially newspapers, and several of these platforms lose audience share, particularly newspapers and broadcast TV networks.

Larry Kramer, the founder of Marketwatch, an internet news site that is free, thinks it is possible to charge for some news on the web.

“In all my Web efforts, I have always advocated making as much online content as possible free to all users,” he wrote on Marketwatch.

“I believe there ultimately will be enough advertising to support widely read Web content.”

Still, he writes, “I have also believed in multiple revenue streams to help media companies deal with advertising droughts, like the one we are in now. And for several types of niche content, audiences are used to paying a premium.”

The New York Times briefly charged for some content, but soon abandoned the move. Now it is reconsidering.

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