Feeds

Murdoch, The Daily, and life without the web

News Corp boss trumpets big, beefy brands

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Top three mobile application threats

Triple play plus news?

Challenged on pricing for The Daily, James Murdoch says that it is "developing", but that "that doesn't stop us investing in really unique journalism." He speculates that other pricing models could be introduced post-launch, a premium subscription, perhaps, or some kind of bundling deal. This is precisely what some of the opponents of News Corp's bid to buy 100 per cent of BSkyB fear might happen, but while that might turn out to unacceptable in the UK, that won't necessarily be the case elsewhere. Copy of The Daily with your Fox News, sir?

Sunday Times iPad app

On the existing apps, he professes to be surprised by the data. Numbers of uniques on the web sites contracted dramatically, he concedes, but "engagement has been very strong" and the apps are "driving a frequency of reading that we're really surprised by." Whereas newspaper buyers will typically buy three or four days a week, app readers seem to be downloading the issue every day (possibly not a surprise, given that they've already paid for it), and are reading for 30-40 minutes a day. It seems quite possible that people reading the iPad version of a newspaper will spend more time with it than they would with the 'real' thing.

The downside is that "they stop buying the newspaper" (and the sub numbers probably aren't that great, although he didn't say that). On the positive side, however, electronic distribution is a lot cheaper than distributing physical newspapers, and it's probably (he didn't say this either) a lot better fit with the digital company News Corp thinks of itself as than dead trees are. Compare what Murdoch senior had to say last year:

I have often made the point about newspapers this way: by reminding people that we are in the news business, not the dead tree business. In other words, what makes a newspaper is its content and brand – not necessarily the form in which it is delivered.

James Murdoch denies that News Corp is "old media", and says that in his opinion the old media versus new media distinction is breaking down. Whereas critics say that by cutting its newspapers off from the web News Corp is condemning itself to obscurity, he makes the pitch that News Corp already is largely a digital organisation, with subscribers buying pay TV, telecoms, broadband, and plenty opportunities for growth and expansion of services even in the UK, which he says is "vastly under-penetrated." News Corp already has a huge paying audience in Western Europe (10 million in the UK, maybe another 10 in Italy, Germany and Turkey), and growing ones in the Middle East and India, and it has a wide-ranging pick and mix of movies, books, TV shows and news that it can sell to these.

Murdoch doesn't actually say 'who needs the Internet?', but you kind of wonder if maybe he doesn't.

But then if he didn't think the Internet was important, why would he be still talking to Google about copyright? News Corp executives have to varying degrees been ballistic about this over the past few years, but at the moment James Murdoch - while firm on the subject, strikes a positive note and refrains from abusing Google directly.

"I think there are lots of questions about what Google's relationship with copyright owners and creators is," he says, adding that "negotiations are under way" with Google. Over what? He claims that Google gets very large returns from using other people's property, and that copyright owners should receive some remuneration for being indexed by Google.

Note that although the Wall Street Journal is indexed by Google, allowing non-subscribers to read some of its material, News Corp's more recent paywall efforts have removed papers from Google's indexes entirely. Nor is it possible to email references to stories from the Times and Sunday Times apps - they're pretty much entirely cut off from the outside world.

So if Murdoch is actually talking to Google about indexing, one can reasonably deduce that this isolation could end, if the price is right. "These things are on the table", he says (one does wonder if Google is actually at that table…) and that he's prepared to "work through different structures with Google. "Maybe it's not going to work", in which case copyright owners "have to be more assertive. We need publishers to start to assert the value of their copyright in general, otherwise the only people who'll be in the business will be governments and oligarchs." ®

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray
High Fidelity Pure Audio – is this what your ears have been waiting for?
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
Sorry London, Europe's top tech city is Munich
New 'Atlas of ICT Activity' finds innovation isn't happening at Silicon Roundabout
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Apple DOMINATES the Valley, rakes in more profit than Google, HP, Intel, Cisco COMBINED
Cook & Co. also pay more taxes than those four worthies PLUS eBay and Oracle
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.