The Murdoch Press, owners of The Sun and News of the World tabloid newspapers, says it won’t use paparazzi pics of Kate Middleton, which is a sign of changing times. The Sun made its name on pushing ethics to the limit, and perhaps even crossing the line, but 10 years after Diana, Princess of Wales’ death, it realizes there could be greater consumer gains from not harassing Miss Middleton.
I see this change in other areas in the print media, which is refreshing, even if it goes against the original brand values of some titles. It has come not from government regulation, but consumer self-regulation and behavioural changes. The outrage over Channel 4 and Big Brother UK—not the only controversy to strike a licensed Big Brother—is another sign. Consumers have demanded it for a lot longer than these moves suggest: in 1997, many people vowed to stop buying tabloid newspapers in the wake of Diana’s death. While sales suggested that not many kept their promise, some did.
More recently, the “everyone is now a celebrity” mentality that accompanies Generation C, YouTube, Flickr et al has taken the lustre off the royals. Downloads of free images and videos mean that there are fewer chances of a tabloid claiming exclusivity; those truly fascinated will ﬁnd a way to see what they want to see, whether it’s Britney Spears not wearing her undies or Daniela Cicarelli making love in the waves.
However, a former Sun editor does believe there is greater awareness in 2007 about how celebrities and public ﬁgures are harmed by paparazzi. Another force at play is the entry into the paparazzi market by hobbyists with a cheap digital camera: the Murdoch Press is weeding out the amateurs.
But long-term, too, you probably don’t want to piss off a future King of England.
Not that this is a wholesale cessation of publishing images of Miss Middleton. News International, to give the Press’s proper name, says it reserves the right to use its own images, which might just mean paying staff photographers less than what it might pay freelance paparazzi.
So maybe the decision is not so noble after all, but it sure looks good given consumer shifts, and it may make bottom-line sense to the Murdoch Press. Posted by Jack Yan, 11:59
Actually, amid all this speculation, I think Kate makes a splendid partner for Wills with her poise and reserve, though I do wonder if the reverse may be true.Post a Comment
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