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Up until the advent of the internet, virtually all news gathering was paid - either by advertisers, subscribers or by taxpayers (in the case of public broadcasters like the BBC).  That model broke when the internet provided virtually unlimited news content for free - and only a very few relatively specialised journals have managed to maintain a paid subscriber base on the web.

Now Murdock has tried to buck that trend by introducing (low) subscriptions for his mass media outlets (in addition to the WSJ).  Perhaps he will succeed and the paywall won't lose him so many readers that his advertising revenue goes down more than the paywall generates.  However the mass media is also called mass for a reason: its about volume and influence, and if both falter his entire business model and empire is at risk.

I suspect the publishing and general business community are rooting for him as he supports their agenda on his pages.  Perhaps they will "subsidise him" through overpaying for advertising.  But if he loses eyeballs and influence he is probably toast.  I suspect very few franchises might get away with a paywall model - The Times, The New York Times etc. because they have a large and wealthy subscriber base.  However I suspect the vast majority of papers will have to remain free - and that gives them an opportunity to increase their readers and advertising at Murdock's expense...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jul 9th, 2010 at 06:16:04 PM EST
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