the paid vs free (non) debate continues. I am amazed at how richard murdoch could be missing the changed world so clearly and the whole economic model.
In essence, Subscriptions make up less than 20% of a newspapers revenues in any case, the bulk comes from advertising. the advertising is expensive due to scarcity – both of readers and of advertising space (i.e. pages). Traditional newspapers do everything they can to increase their circulation and thus readership (free copies at airports etc) to charge advertisers more. The real issue with the web for Murdoch is that suddenly information/news is not scarce, added to that readers arent scarce. Would taking NYT offline make a difference, only negatively to NYT. Would taking all of the worlds newspapers offline help? Probably not, as news will still find its way onto the net (think of what happenned with music).
(I believe that this is about market power. The market power is shifting very quickly away from the traditional media having control to the advertiser having control via Cost Per Click (CPC) Models. in this model the value of the advertising is derived by the value of the word and not the space it occupies.
Nov 9, 2009 at 2:17pm ET by Matt McGee
The long-running debate over Google and its impact on newspapers and journalism took another turn today when News Corp founder Rupert Murdoch said his company may makes its sites invisible to Google, and Google fired back by saying, in essence, bring it on.
It began with this interview on Australia’s Sky News (which Murdoch owns), reported by the Australian site mUmBRELLA, in which Murdoch reiterated his belief that Google and other search engines “steal” their stories:
“The people who just simply pick up everything and run with it, and steal our stories. We say they steal our stories — they just take them without payment. There’s Google, there’s Microsoft, Ask.com … there’s a whole lot of people.”
Murdoch agrees that Google sends his news sites a lot of traffic it might not have gotten on its own, but questions the value of that traffic to advertisers. He says, plainly: “We’d rather have fewer people coming to our web sites, but paying.” And when asked why his sites haven’t made themselves invisible to Google and other search engines/news aggregators, Murdoch says: “Well, I think we will. But that’s when we start charging.”
To that, Google fired back today, telling the Telegraph that, essentially, they don’t care if Murdoch wants to block its sites from being found via search and/or Google News.
A spokesman for the search giant said: “Google News and web search are a tremendous source of promotion for news organisations, sending them about 100,000 clicks every minute.
“Publishers put their content on the web because they want it to be found, so very few choose not to include their material in Google News and web search. But if they tell us not to include it, we don’t.”
Google is referring, of course, to using robots.txt or a similar protocol to keep content from being indexed. Danny Sullivan wondered aloud why Google’s critics in journalism weren’t already doing that, especially after the Wall Street Journal recently accused Google of “encouraging promiscuity” online by allowing searchers to bounce from one news site to the next with no loyalty. Danny also sat down recently with Google CEO Eric Schmidt for a lengthy conversation about Google and journalism.
The debate/battle is far from over. The question now, at least where Google and Murdoch are concerned is: Who’ll blink first?