Newscorp, AP put a price on the news

Bob Moon Oct 9, 2009

Newscorp, AP put a price on the news

Bob Moon Oct 9, 2009


KAI RYSSDAL:Now that we’ve had more than a decade getting used to free news on the Web, Rupert Murdoch wants it to stop. Today, the owner of a company that’s name is, literally, news went after what he calls “content kleptomaniacs,” otherwise known as search engines, bloggers and social networking sites.

He promised they’ll soon have to pay for co-opting his property. The head of the Associated Press delivered a similar warning. Tom Curley said the wire service will be going after those who profit without paying for AP content.

Our senior business correspondent Bob Moon has more.

Bob Moon: How’s this for irony? I first found my way to this story — as did many others — through a link on Google’s news page.

Jeff Jarvis is the author of “What Would Google Do?” And he says news publishers need to learn from — not blame — sites like Google.

Jeff Jarvis: In the “link economy,” content that gets no links has no value. It gains value as it gets links. So if you put a news story up, you want there to be tweets to it, with links, and blog posts and aggregators’ links from Google News. And that brings value to you because it brings you audience. It’s then up to you to exploit the value of that audience.

The irony is, both Murdoch’s News Corp and the Associated Press have made deals with Google. Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal may be a paid site, but Google is allowed to post links that bypass the paid gateway. Danny Sullivan watches the industry for the Web site Search Engine Land. He suggests Murdoch wants to have his cake and eat it too.

Danny Sullivan: Not only does he want to get Google to send him traffic for free, but he’d also like to get paid even more money on top of all that.

Murdoch has been saying recently that he plans to put his other publications behind similar paid-content gateways. And at the Poynter Institute, media business analyst Rick Edmonds says some news executives are still convinced that might be their salvation:

Rick Edmonds: Not so long ago, we thought all television was free. Well, that’s kind of changed over time. So I think we’re going to see a period of experimentation with different forms of paid content or trying to make that idea stick.

Critics warn that’s like trying to put the free-content genie back in the bottle and they argue it’s way too late for that.

I’m Bob Moon for Marketplace.

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