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Murdochs Pay for Content Doomed for Failure

21 Oct 2009

News Limited chairman Rupert Murdoch's plan to charge readers for online news will be a tough sell with uncertain results, says a leading economist.


The push towards online content poses significant challenges for the media, says Craig James, the chief economist of CommSec, the Commonwealth Bank's share-trading branch.


"Individuals now have got used to having their information for free," he told AAP on Sunday.


"There is a wealth of sites where you can get the information."


James was responding to Murdoch's comments at News Corp's New York AGM last week.


Murdoch reiterated his plan to begin charging users of his company's news websites and said he believed good journalism would stop other websites from using News Corp content.


On the opposite side of the coin, in Australia, ABC's Chief Executive Mark Scott has promised that all ABC internet content will remain free.


Delivering a lecture in journalism at the University of Melbourne last week, Scott said the call by Murdoch for News Limited to charge for online content in the future was doomed to failure.


"When you have been so powerful and dominant for so long, it is hard to believe that empire is slipping away," he said.


Scott went on to say that technology had left traditional media companies lagging.


"It is hard to see, in an English speaking environment anyway, the (traditional media) companies that have cut a path to genuine transformation for the future," he said.


In conclusion, Scott reinforced that most online content offered by private media organizations, and all offered by the ABC, would be free in the future.


To view the video of Mark Scott's comments click here.



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