This is much ballyhooed, but I watched this video of Rupert Murdoch (”the last great media congolomerate”) last night speaking to his aversion to Google. It looks like he’s set to opt out of Google/Bing/Ask searches. His reasoning is that they are slowly but surely usurping content and “stealing” the hard work that these reporters do. He also speaks to Fox News and other topics like the economy. It’s an interesting interview (it’s long, about 40 minutes, but worth while.)
A few years ago, I watched this documentary, Outfoxed on how Fox News works. It’s pretty explicit in the argument that Fox News is anything but fair and balanced and continually takes sides. EVERYTHING you read is biased to some extent, but I’d agree that their form of journalism is heavily slanted. It’s fine, but as a viewer you need to know this.
Murdoch as a business person is undisputed as a very intelligent and exacting practitioner. He is very talented and his moves are watched closely. Which raises the question of why he would block the search engines? Is it a good idea? Well, that all depends, but in my opinion, yes. Something will have to change. Murdoch sees a world where the content that was forever sold at 50 cents a piece is now given away for free. He also sees that search engines indexing content which in itself is a form of news. He is likely worried that this as a paradigm would leave all content providers broke. So how can you change it?
It’s dependent on a subscription model. Content online has to be as good as offline, which means that a certain degree of professionalism and fact checking. I’m but a rank amateur who writes based on perceptions, opinions and reading professionals. I realize this and would be willing to pay for content. In fact, I think it’s important that we all begin to realize that paying for content is important. The world can’t operate on a model subsidized by advertising revenues. Yet there has to be a middle ground. People are not stupid and will not want to pay the same price for news when the cost of good sold is a single digit percentage of what it once was. The newspapers will have to run dual models (digital and tangible) for a LONG time, but that doesn’t mean I should have to pay for both. I want to pay for a digital model. Maybe it’s 1 cent per article. Maybe it’s $30 for a year of the Wall Street Journal online.
For now, I’ll continue to use free news. It’s wonderful. When that time of change does come though, I’ll be willing to pay for the content, much like I still purchase compact discs full of music rather than steal it. This story will not go away. Keep watching it.