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If 2010 is really going to be "The Year of the Paywall" as The Economist predicted this month, The Wall Street Journal is set to be the year's poster child. Rupert Murdoch's business paper made waves — and headlines — in 2009 for increasing readers and profits behind a paywall. But if Murdoch's slights against Google over the past few months are serious and he takes the paper's articles off the search engine, The Journal's fortunes could quickly about face.
In an interview with MedaShift today, Alan Murray, the Journal's deputy managing editor, suggests that the Journal may have found a escape hatch from Google's stranglehold on search: social media.
Rupert Murdoch's media empire produces news, but he also has a habit of making it himself. Most recently, he was a headline-creator when he stated he'd be pulling his websites out of Google's index.
Journalism in the 21st century is clearly something that matters a lot to Murdoch, both financially and personally. And in an op-ed piece in his own Wall Street Journal, Murdoch laid out his views on where he sees journalism going, and who needs to stay out of it.
Newspaper publishers have been blaming Google for their revenue decline long before the recession plunged them into chaos. Google scours the web and delivers their hard won news in an instant — for free. But it's not a one sided relationship, and today Google's CEO is fighting back — in Rupert Murdoch's pages.
Murdoch has been loudest amid the din of publishers who are demanding payment for their services. And today in his Wall Street Journal, Eric Schmidt made his pitch for how Google can help newspapers survive the digital shift.
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.
There are a lot of good reasons to believe that the internet is the future of the content business. From the woes of the traditional media to the evident power of internet distribution, I think it's hard to argue that the internet isn't going to play a prominent role in the future of content. It already is.
But that doesn't mean that online content is easy.
Everybody has accepted that the newspaper industry is in real trouble. The debate is now what newspapers can do to survive and rebuild for the internet era we live in.
Paid content seems like one of the most immediate possible solutions for stemming declining print and advertising revenues but paid content isn't easy for a number of reasons.
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.