Rupert Murdoch has been an outspoken opponent of allowing free access to his news organizations' information via their websites. The Wall Street Journal now charges for most articles, for example, and yesterday Murdoch's Guardian announced that it, too, would be begin charging for access.
I don't know if he will be successful, but frankly I am skeptical. Perhaps a decade ago, when use of the internet was just beginning to explode, the publishing industry should have had a "paygo" model, but I think it is too late.
Jeff Jarvis, a columnist from the Guardian seems to agree. Here's an excerpt from his column today, with the full link below:
According to his biographer Michael Wolff, Murdoch has not used the internet, let alone Google (he only recently discovered email) and so he cannot possibly understand the dynamics, demands and opportunities of our post-industrial, now-digital media economy. I use the internet and teach it and write about it and I still can't grasp the complete implication of the change. I don't think even Google can.
So to try to transpose old business models to this new business reality is simply insane. Just because people used to pay in print they should pay now – when the half-life of a scoop's value is a click, when good-enough news that's free is also a click away, when the new newsstand of Google and Twitter demands that you stay in the open, searchable and linkable? This argument I hear about paywalls comes from emotional entitlement (readers "should" pay – when did you ever see a business plan built on the verb "should"?), not hard economics.
Rupert Murdoch's pathetic paywall | Jeff Jarvis | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk