Thursday, August 6, 2009

The End of Free?

First, Murdoch announces he will charge for internet access at all his sites.

Now, many New York coffee shops are discouraging laptop lingerers.

The give it away for free model works when you can generate traffic that results in revenue by other means, but spells doom for a model that doesn't generate $$$$.

Murdoch's bet, on the other hand, is that he can generate even more revenue by charging for his content, despite the fact that free access generates more traffic and thus more ad revenue than subscription address will.

Put in terms of television models, Murdoch thinks he is HBO, not ABC.

But both these moves are likely to cause more Silicon Valley venture capitalists to ask money seekers the basic question, "Why aren't you charging for your product?"


  1. "Why aren't you charging for your product?"

    Because virtually nobody will pay for it. News is not tangible.

  2. I'm of mixed mind on this. While I've paid for WSJ online access virtually from the day it became available, I never once considered paying for NYT editorials during its two or three year experiment. And if the WSJ were to discontinue its historical archive I would likely drop my subscription. Current news is frequently worth less to me than historical reference.

    I think the real losers will be local papers. I used to go to them for weather, now I go to the weather channel site or a competitor. If I want news on the goings on of local government, there are plenty of local blogs to fish through. Local papers have devolved into being reporters of crime and punishment and light human interest stories.