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February 2, 2011

Rupert Murdoch to Google News: I Can Has Monetization

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The new application for iPad by News Corp. begs a small sector of people who own iPads to please God start paying for published news again. The app costs $40 per year (which is less than an annual subscription the Wall Street Journal).

However, The Daily app is a news source all of its own, with a more interactive approach to news. News Corp.’s last ditch effort to put the money back into news distribution is good for the industry, but can it last as more and more people turn to sites like Google News to stay up-to-date?

hands off of my newspaper!

One of Bruce Clay’s recent predictions for the search industry is that Google will dominate the online news sector in the near future. So an app like this makes sense for the news industry to generate revenue in new ways.

But the real question is: Could the app ultimately replace the need for Google News?

Bruce Clay, Inc.’s Chris Hart (who has an extensive background in the publishing industry), had this to say:

“That News Corp. app doesn’t need to make a killing for it to be a win. It just needs to be interesting enough for other media agencies to follow suit, which will take the news distribution away from Google and put it back in the hands of the news agencies. As we know, almost all websites have had difficulties with pay-gate attempts and most have failed in the past.”

That prompted a discussion between Chris and I as he pondered how online news distribution and SEO fits into it all:

Chris Hart: If the news is only distributed through a device via a subscription, then it doesn’t need to be searched for. No need to search for it, no need to optimize it.

Jessica Lee: But Google News will always exist.

Chris Hart: Some people said newspapers will always exist. If News Corp.’s idea takes off, and news agencies no longer need the Web for eyeballs, no need for Google News.

So, the question to you, the business community, is what’s your take?

Do you think an app like The Daily will once again breathe life into the news industry and potentially make Google News obsolete? Or, do you think this idea will fizzle, allowing Google News to continue to grow as a No. 1 source for digital news? [This is me, rolling my eyes over the whole thing. Murdoch is delusional. --Susan]

Update 2/10: I found this article by Eric Schmidt in 2009, then CEO of Google, on how Google can help newspapers. Interesting read from more than a year ago.

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6 responses to “Rupert Murdoch to Google News: I Can Has Monetization”

  1. David O'Donnell writes:

    I don’t see what they are offering for $40, that isn’t available easily and freely. I can see the iPad being a great distribution point for something like comic books, because they are not available for free online, and the artwork looks great on the ipad.
    Lastly, I don’t know that Google News will dominate online news, I think authority national news sites, like news.com.au in Australia, or even more local state level sites will retain a decent piece of the pie.

  2. Jessica Lee writes:

    Thanks for the thoughtful comment, Dave! I like your proposal for the comic book idea. You should create an app! You think people will continue to favor individual news sites as a preference over a news aggregator like Google?

  3. Bev Satterley writes:

    Just as TV has become more fragmented with channels catering to almost every conceivable taste, so news distribution has widened.

    The difficulty is in turning a profit and with so much news available instantly and free online it’s difficult to see how the Murdoch idea can work.

  4. Jessica Lee writes:

    Hi, Bev! People do have to be really creative with how they make money when there are so many things available to us free online. Thank you for your comment!

  5. Slide Buddy writes:

    I’m not sure if this venture into pay-per news will actually click in our very social environment, unless they specialize on exclusive news and unique exposes.

  6. Jessica Lee writes:

    I agree — there’s got to be something unique in the offering. I think that’s what they are aiming for. Thank you for your comment!



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