June 7th, 2007

Murdoch: Pour Money Into Digital, Make Wall Street Journal Free, Don’t Let Google Own The World

by

The Wall Street Journal has a fascinating interview with Rupert Murdoch. Here are some choice quotes:

I think it’s in the digital area, digital and TV. And I think we’ve got to pour some money into digital. We’ve got to do a lot of things there… There’s so much going on on the Internet. We’ve got to find new ways and new business models to get revenues. Or else the world is going to be owned by Google.

Pour money into digital, find new business models, or be owned by Google. Pretty straightforward.

I mean there are so many new pipes in how you deliver these things. And so on. We’ll just have to use them all and see what’s economical. I had a study done, and I think you’ve had many more studies done down there. What if they made The Wall Street Journal free instead of charging 80 bucks?

“New pipes”? Is Murdoch part of the Ted Stevens school of Web conceptualization? Pipes are emblematic of the old monopoly distribution models that put Murdoch on top — wishful thinking.

You’d have 10 times as many visitors and lets say five times as much advertising. But you’d lose the other, it works out at about a push…. So, the problem with a regular newspaper is how do they replace or hold their revenue models. It’s not all been about the Internet. Change of lifestyle, people’s time. Circulation really has been going down for 20 years before the Internet. And on top of this, in this country you have the impact of the discounters. The Targets and the Wal-Marts and what they’ve done to the department stores… So what’s happened at papers like the LA Times. Used to see pages and pages of five different department stores. Now you get a couple of pages from one … We’ll see how Mr. [Sam] Zell handles that.

So newspapers have been dying for a while. The Internet is just the coup de grace.

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