Tuesday, August 3, 2010

What Rupert Murdoch is Really Up To

He's teaming with Steve Jobs.

He doesn't care how many subscribers he gets via his internet paywalls. He is going to eventually shut down his internet  product. His model is about selling his content via iPads, where it can't be copied or linked to, or searched.

Here's a report from The Austrailian about Murdoch's public thinking:

NEWS Corp chief Rupert Murdoch said Apple would sell more than 40 million iPads by 2012 as he flagged plans to put content on more tablet devices.

Appearing by video at a new media breakfast and panel debate hosted by Media in Sydney this morning, Mr Murdoch said tablet or slate computers were "a perfect platform for our content''.

"We can deliver our content to our readers when, where and how they want it. It's cheap, convenient and constantly up-to-date,'' Mr Murdoch said.

He said News already had "tens of thousands of readers'' who had downloaded apps for The Wall Street Journal, The Times of London and The Australian on the iPad, and said subscriber levels for The Times following its recent move to erect a pay wall around its online content were "strong''.

"Initial expectations that (Apple) would sell a few million (iPads) will fall way short of the mark,'' Mr Murdoch said.

"It looks like they will sell around 15 million iPads this calendar year and more than 40 million by 2012.

"And the iPad is just one of many tablet or slate computers in the pipeline. News Corp fully intends to be across all those platforms too.

"As you know, we are rolling out a paid content strategy across our newspaper websites. Already The Wall Street Journal is the largest of its kind in the world with 1.1 million paying subscribers online.

"The Times of London and The Sunday Times last month started charging for access to their websites.

"It's going to be a success. Subscriber levels are strong. We are witnessing the start of a new business model for the internet.

"The argument that information wants to be free is only said by those who want it for free,'' Mr Murdoch said.


  1. "The argument that information wants to be free is only said by those who want it for free,'' Mr Murdoch said.

    Let's revisit this quote/prediction in 2011/12 ....

  2. The problem is, the Ipad is only one player. Currently a very big player, but only one. Google, Microsoft, Sony, in addition to companies we've not even heard of yet are going to enter the market and whittle away Murdoch's dream. The Ipad might not be able to copy or link, etc, but the other devices will and it will push Apple to the same. News Corp and Apple don't work in a vacuum. They might charge, but there will be others that don't. And unless there's a sea change in the internet, those are the people that are likely to get the audience.

    Another thing to point out is that WSJ is specialized and caters to a financial audience that has money to burn. The more specialized the focus, the more likely a subscription model will work. Throw in a focus that is geared toward people with money, and yes, you can make money like WSJ.

    General news, like The Times is not specialized at all and the average person doesn't want to spend money on a newspaper subscription anymore, especially when there are free alternatives. The Times of London paywall, has to my knowledge been a disaster with only 15,000 subscribers. The Ipad/Iphone app is another 12,000 but that's not near enough to sustain them. I read somewhere that News Corp lost something like $5 billion last year. Murdoch isn't stupid, he'll figure something out, but I expect the losses to continue for the near future.