I disagree with the decision of News International to charge for content. It’s a fundamental misreading of social media culture. Putting up barriers to your web site and creating a walled garden approach is so 1990s.
Now it’s about letting go and looking to distribute your content as widely and effectively as you can. Rather than seeing his newspaper sites as destinations, Murdoch should see them as platforms with the aim of developing networks around them.
You cannot charge for news now. It is a commodity. Anyone can get news. What he is doing is imprisoning his columnists and preventing them from gaining the influence they would otherwise earn. Now their viewpoints will not spread as easily. They will not be able to freely enter into conversations with people or build relations with other online communities.
Just look at the most successful companies on the web like Google. Most of their services are free yet they make a fortune. It’s a question of where you charge. If Murdoch made access to his content free it would generate a bigger readership and then he could charge more for advertising. Essentially what is happening here though is that we are witnessing the last gasps of traditional media.
Murdoch, the media baron, is panicking because his assets are losing value. He spends masses on editorial and the notion of giving it away really annoys him. Newspapers are going to have to reinvent themselves because anyone now can create and share news using blogs, twitter and so on. I’m surprised that News International is not doing more video and being more innovative. Surely the BBC is a model for Murdoch to look at in terms of how they are leveraging the web.
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