Rupert Murdoch VS Google
by, 01-06-2010 at 03:58 PM (2296 Views)
Rupert Murdoch is undoubtedly a shrewd business man, but is his idea to lock out search engines, specifically Google, from his newspaper empire a good one? For my money, I'd have to say no.
For a start, the web is awash in news media, either in the form of newspapers, news stations or blogs. On occasion a newspaper or news station will break an exclusive story but the exclusivity only lasts as long as it takes to get the story printed or aired. Once the news hits the airwaves or print, every other news company will descend upon it like vultures on a corpse. Why pay for news that's only fresh for five minutes? Sure, people still pay for dead tree versions of newspapers, but will they want to pay for a virtual version?
This brings me to my second point, the psychological difference between physical and virtual media. For a great many people, if itís virtual, it should either be free or it should be cheap. It is this paradigm shift that is eluding media moguls the world over as they fight to maintain their archaic distribution models.
People can understand the R5 cost of a daily newspaper; after all, printing is expensive. When publishers start insisting that Amazon charge $15 for an e-book, some consumers may start to feel that something stinks. Who can blame them when an electronic version of a book costs the same price as the paperback?
The blocking of search engines will lead to another side effect, namely a smaller audience for Mr. Murdoch's websites. For local news, I have a few favourite sites that I frequent. But for international news, I usually rely on portals like Google's news site to find stories of interest or perhaps a different view on a popular topic. By excluding his papers from this portal, websites like those belonging to the New York Post stand to loose a lot of traffic. Less traffic means less advertising revenue.
But clearly, Mr. Murdoch thinks he owns the news since he refers to Google's headline nabbing as stealing. Maybe he's paying to have bad things happen around the world so his media empire can have news stories to write about. He certainly has enough money to pull it off.