Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

Murdoch Urges Competing Newspapers To Raise Paywalls

Posted by Tom Foremski - April 7, 2010

Rupert Murdoch, head of News Corp, urged competing newspapers to raise paywalls around their content, saying that readers would pay "when they have nowhere else to go."

The reported Mr Murdoch's remarks from a speech at a National Press Club event at George Washington University.

Mr Murdoch criticized rival New York Times:

...saying its paywall plans were halfhearted and needed to be more restrictive.

"They don't seem to be able to make up their mind. They will have opposition internally from some of their journalists, especially their columnists," he said. "To really make it work they have got to put a paywall up. I think most newspapers in [the US] have got to have a paywall."

[Please see:NYT: Charging Ahead (Slowly) - Paywall in 2011]

Mr Murdoch is a leading proponent of paywalls for newspapers. The Wall Street Journal has a successful paywall and his other newspapers, The Times and Sunday Times will have paywalls in June.

However, he is taking a risk because online readers might go to free rival newspapers. That's why he is keen on his largest rivals to also have paywalls.

[Please see: Why Pay-For-News Won't Work: The First Mover Disadvantage - SVW]

Jeff Jarvis, an associate professor of journalism at City University in New York, is a vocal critic of Mr Murdoch's paywall plans.

On Wednesday, Mr Jarvis was taunting Mr Murdoch on Twitter:

"Has Rupert finally just lost it? Discuss."

"Hey, Rupert, when your readers tweet your story, is that "theft"?"

"The big news is that Rupert has actually touched a computer (well, an iPad)."

Mr Murdoch also told the audience that he would restrict access to news from search engines such as Google and Microsoft. He said that they were getting news for free and he would put a stop to their "very clever business model."

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Please see PearlTree:  Murdoch Urges Competing Newspapers To Raise Paywalls - SVW 

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