Maybe Rupert Murdoch isn't so crazy after all. Little more than two weeks after he essentially stated "Google? We don't need no stinkin' Google", reports have surfaced that Microsoft is talking with News Corp. and other newspaper publishers.
The proposition Microsoft is reportedly floating: "delist" from Google and give Bing exclusivity when it comes to indexing your content. In exchange, Microsoft would pay the publishers the cold hard cash they're so desperately seeking as print revenues continue their rapid erosion.
The rumors are true. Rupert Murdoch is taking News Corp. content out of Google search.
The media mogul set off a storm last week when he responded to a question about opting-out from Google with the words "I think we will."
And today, News Corp.'s chief digital officer confirmed it. News Corp. content will be off of Google search within the next few months.
But is this a game of chicken that News Corp. can win?
Rupert Murdoch is a media mogul who hasn't shied away from revealing his true feelings towards Google. The best way to sum them up? If Google didn't exist, he would be all the happier.
Earlier this year, Murdoch asked cable industry execs "Should we be allowing Google to steal all our copyrights?" His response: media execs should be saying "Thanks, but no thanks" to Google.
Rupert Murdoch may be leading the pack when it comes to charging for content, but he's not dumb enough to go it alone. The News Corp. chief said recently that all of his publications will start charging for content within a year. And now it appears that he's got plans to get other publications to go in with him. According to The Los Angeles Times, News Corp. execs have been meeting with major publishers to create a media consortium that collectively charges for articles across digital platforms.
Why does Murdoch want help? Because his papers will take a nosedive in readership when he starts charging for content. One way to stave off the bleeding is to make sure that other news providers are siphoning their content behind a pay wall as well.
Rupert Murdoch is going all in on paid content. The News Corp. head anounced yesterday during an earnings call that all of his publications will be charging for access within this fiscal year.
The announcement has been met with both derision and excitement. Charging for news content has the potential to shrink audience numbers and choke ad revenue. But as publications struggle to find the right revenue model, Murdoch's decision could pave the way for other organizations that have been talking a lot about charging online but doing little about it.
So will News Corp. sink or swim with its plans to charge for content? The answer, as with anything: it depends on execution.
Friendster provided the quintessential story of a hot company that rose quickly and fell even quicker. At one point, Friendster seemed set to dominate the social networking market.
Then two upstarts, MySpace and Facebook, left it battered and bruised. While the company still exists, the chances that it will ever recapture its past glory seem, to some observers, slim to none.
The Wall Street Journal may be getting more expensive. The business paper has been making headlines of late for growing its revenues behind a pay wall while other papers are bleeding ad revenue. But is the Journal the exception to the rule, or just ahead of the curve of paying more money for content?
Speaking at the Digiday: Networks conference in New York, Brian Quinn, the Journal's vice president of digital ad sales, said that the newspaper is so happy with its subcription results that it is looking to push the website toward a "hyperpaid" model. And Quinn said that there are initiatives across Newscorp trying to try to get people to pay even more for its content.
Just last week, former AOL exec and current Chief Digital Officer at News Corp. John Miller suggested that Hulu content might soon go behind a pay wall. But will charging for content work for all Dow Jones properties?
Hulu has fast become one of the internet's top destinations for professional video content. With free high-def programming from the likes of NBC, FOX, Comedy Central and many others, it's not hard to see why.
There's only one problem: it's only available in the United States.
Hulu's meteoric rise as the online video site of choice for big media companies looking for online distribution has attracted another equity partner: Disney.
The Walt Disney Company has announced a deal that sees Disney taking a 27% stake in Hulu and receiving 3 seats on Hulu's board. Hulu is now owned by Disney, News Corp., NBC Universal and a private equity firm.
It's hard to say that Rupert Murdoch's $550m acquisition of MySpace in 2005 wasn't a savvy move. Last year alone, despite missing revenue targets, MySpace pulled in more revenue than Murdoch paid to acquire the popular social network.
But all does not appear to be well at the world's second-largest social network. Despite the fact that under News Corp., MySpace has become the
best-monetized social network, it has lost significant ground amongst
consumers. Last year Facebook surpassed it as the world's largest social network
and it's poised to become the largest social network in the United
States as well, a country that MySpace had previously dominated.