News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch declared at The Cable Show, an annual cable television industry event in Washington, D.C, that if papers want to survive, they are going to have to start charging for news online. "People reading news for free on the Web, that's got to change," he said.
Murdoch used The New York Times to illustrate an online paper that, he believes, has a great website but is not covering its costs with online ad revenue only. When asked how he thought the NYT would do if it charged its Internet readership, his response was "fairly well." One of News Corp's papers, The Wall Street Journal is one of the few that does charge for online content. And although it's "no gold mine, it's not bad," he said. The media mogul advocated a change in publishers' relationships with Google and other aggregators: "Should we be allowing Google to steal all our copyrights? Not just Google. I think if you've got a brand like the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal you don't have to do that."
Another topic Murdoch touched upon was e-readers. He mentioned that News Corp is investing in a device with a larger screen than devices currently available such as Amazon's Kindle, and with four-colour capabilities. Reuters' attempt to find out whether Murdoch was referring to the Plastic Logic device was not successful.
How to monetize online journalism as the Internet gets more powerful and advertising revenue slows has been a recurring question. Could a subscription-based model work? Or micropayment, or even efforts to pursue e-commerce? Or are e-readers the future? Google's CEO Eric Schmidt will discuss his company's involvement in the future of journalism as he gives a keynotes speech at the Newspaper Association of America's annual conference, next week, in San Diego.