At the National Press Club last night, Rupert Murdoch spoke out in defense of the paywall and against news aggregators and newspapers, like the New York Times, that he deems to be biased.
"When they have got nowhere else to go they will start paying," he said in response to concerns that consumers would be unwilling to pay for news online, while suggesting that the industry is going in the direction of more paywalls. As a caveat, he added, "If it is reasonable. No one is going to ask for a lot of money," offering the Wall Street Journal's online subscription price as an example.
But the WSJ has raised ire over its iPad price, which, at 17.29 per month, comes at more than 60 percent higher than its online subscription. Perhaps the high iPad price is the reason that Murdoch made a point, during his interview, to laud the potential of the iPad.
"I got a glimpse of the future last weekend with the Apple iPad. It is a wonderful thing," he said. "If you have less newspapers and more of these ... it may well be the saving of the newspaper industry."
Murdoch also slammed news aggregators like Google News, stating that news organizations should use copyright laws in the fight to remove their content from aggregators. He said he did not plan to offer a payment option to these aggregators.
"I don't think we'll charge them; they just will say no," he said. "We'd be very happy if they just publish our headline and maybe a sentence or two--followed by a subscription form for the Journal."
Murdoch rounded out the night by criticizing the New York Times for what he views to be biased coverage, stating that they print "anything Mr. Obama wants." When pressed on the Republican bias of his Fox news network and asked to name a single Democratic reporter working for the network, he was unable to do so, aside from Greta Van Sustren who, he said, is "close" to the Democratic party.
As Murdoch's Times and Sunday Times implement paywalls in June, and the New York Times puts a paywall up in 2011, does Murdoch's depiction of a future for online news bound by paywalls hold some truth?