In a move that can only be characterized as expected, Rupert Murdoch indicated today that he plans to introduce pay walls across his online news media enterprise. The Wall Street Journal, one of the newspapers that his corporation owns, already charges for its web content with financial benefits, a result that Murdoch said shaped his decision. In an article that appeared tonight in The Australian, Murdoch said:
Quality journalism is not cheap, and an industry that gives away its content is simply cannibalising its ability to produce good reporting…We want to come out of this with much stronger franchises than we started with.
Earlier today, Murdoch said he planned to charge for online content by 2010, indicating at his News Corp. announcement that the changes would take place “in terms of this fiscal year.”
Troublesome signs for News Corp.’s newspapers started to emerge in February, when David Joyce, a media analyst at Miller Tabak & Company, told the New York Times this:
The thing I hear from investors is that they wish News Corp. was everything but newspapers…The hope for a turnaround in the newspaper business is looking elusive.
I can see the day — and it may be 20 years away — where you don’t actually have paper and ink and printing presses.
Or news on the web, since former readers will just watch Fox News for free to satisfy their cravings for conservative reporting.