News Corp Hints at Charging for Content

By Deane Barker on May 7, 2009

Murdoch: Web sites to charge for content: I wonder if this will be a tipping point to wide adoption of charging for access to online news. I think a lot of the major news outlets want to do it, but no one wants to do it first.

Media tycoon Rupert Murdoch expects News Corporation-owned newspaper Web sites to start charging users for access within a year in a move which analysts say could radically shake-up the culture of freely available content.

[…] He said 360,000 people had downloaded an iPhone WSJ application in three weeks. Users would soon be made to pay “handsomely” for accessing WSJ content, he added.

Could this be a lifeline to the newspaper business? To date, throwing in Web content for free was okay because the Web was the secondary outlet, behind the primary outlet of print. But as print dies off, Web becomes the primary outlet, and I assume they’ll want to get paid from it.

All Murdoch needs is another big player on the bandwagon, and he might kick the snowball off the hill. Gannet? New York Times Company?

Here’s a list of News Corp holdings. Lots of newspapers in there.