October 15, 2009

Beware of old guys bearing formulas

Rupert Murdoch and son James have publicly declared themselves passé.

In a watershed media moment, Murdoch Snr foamed at the mouth, declaring that the days of indulging "content kleptomaniacs" would shortly end, exactly like everything else about life and the universe as we know it, apparently.

Son James, young and agile enough to know better, drooled with equal rage against free access to content on the interwebs.

Ignomunious douchebugs, nitwits, dimwits, pinheads, dunces, simpletons, ninnies, dunderheads, nincompoops, blockheads, numskulls, dumb bunnies, not to mention silly geese.

It's clear that the divide between old and new media models has reached the precipice, spurred on, perhaps prematurely, by old Murdoch - Viagra hey, gives with one hand, ends too quickly with the other.

No need for me to link to an article.

You can read reports, first hand accounts and analysis on, oooh, approximately 15,000,000 freely accessible world wide web sites - all of which will provide accurate coverage of the
deliquescent Murdoch.


  1. Rupe's thundering has a definite evangelical tone...

    "The philistine phase of the digital age is almost over. The aggregators and plagiarists will soon have to pay a price for the co-opting of our content."

    It used to be idolators and fornicators who were sent to the sin bin.

  2. What I find perplexing is if Murdoch is so sure that pay-per-view of his media content is the way to go, why doesn't he just go ahead and do it? Let the market decide his fate.

    Competition and a web controlled by nobody. Even Rupert can't change that.

  3. He is going ahead with it Dan, next year, I think, although he hasn't announced a date per se.

    He has also been careful to say that only "unique" content would be behind a pay for view firewall. Which is much the same as is the case now, except that instead of being accessible, "unique" content simply isn't published on the web. Eg, investigative articles that appear in the lift-out mags of the Saturday papers, while once accessible online, no longer are - so, you buy the paper or you don't get to read it, and, little bloggers have nothing to link to.

    Put in that context, it rather narrows the volume of reporting and journalism likely to be sitting behind a firewall.

    The Fin Review have had the model for quite a few years, and I assume it works for them, but the Fin is a niche market, and many online subscriptions would no doubt be paid by corporates, or are otherwise a tax deduction. That's never going to be the case for generic "news" papers.

    Anyway, with so little content that is truly unique, I tend to think there won't be enough for Murdoch to lock away, or enough of compelling value for people to have sufficient incentive to pay for some small amount of "unique" journalism. It's not as though we don't all have a thousand other sources of distraction, whether online, or even reading a book(!), if we're in need of the uplift of some original works.

    There is a more compelling case for letting newspapers become non-profits and permitting tax-deductible donations. The print media is a public good, a public good worth saving. Murdoch isn't the savior though, he's stuck back in the last century and hasn't come to terms with the fact that the barons no longer set the rules.

  4. Jacob - "plagiarists" is so often bastardized in the context of the web, and you'd think the Murdochs are sufficiently educated to not make the mistake.

    It's not plagiarism to use quotation marks and directly attribute to a primary or secondary source.

    Every high school and university essay in the world uses this very approach. One wonders why it's suddenly considered plagiarism to aggregate, quote and attribute to sources when it's an electronic medium. Oh yeah, advertising, clicks and page views. Hmm.

    Fornicators are still sent to the sin bin, but it's less and less fun than it used to be. Was Clinton the jump the shark moment, after which cum stains incited only momentary interest and a barely stifled yawn?

  5. Jacob9:16 PM

    Re adverts, clicks, pageviews... I'd have thought people linking to Rupe's precious content would bring him a lot of extra traffic from people who like to read stuff and judge for themselves. I know I do.

  6. That's what I would think too Jacob, and a serious well designed study would almost certainly find it to be true. By well designed, I mean a study that captures interest and intentionality of people who would not otherwise have clicked to the source material, if it not been bought to their attention by a content kleptomaniac.

    In other words, on balance news sources are probably no worse off, and might even be better off, because instead of one feed - their own - they might have thousands or tens of thousands secondary feeds to their site. And that's a bad thing?

    The real issue, which Rupp is no longer naming (he's diverting attention), is that the brightest boys in the room still haven't figured out how to turn a profit from news on the web, and boy are they pissed at not being able to find a successful model.