Google will frustrate plans to charge for news
We publishers had a very entertaining morning at Trentham Racecourse on Melbourne Cup Day Tuesday, organized by our printer, Format Print, and one of the presenters mentioned that if News Corp. wanted to begin charging for content, it would likely succeed.
The argument that might is right is appealing, and certainly it would be an interesting experiment on the part of the Murdoch Press. The main argument is that News Corp. has unique content, and there would be people willing to pay for it.
This is not the same-old blog post about people not willing to pay for online content—that has been beaten to death—but whether brand loyalty to websites is anywhere nearly as strong as the Murdoch Press anticipates.
In my experience, brand loyalty on the web has dropped as the number of sites has increased, especially blogs. Many blogs have not been designed with brands in mind, because they are personal in nature. And not everyone has successfully marketed themselves as personal brands.
One has to ask: how do netizens ﬁnd news? It’s a very different process to print, where there are titles that one trusts and goes toward—the sort of world which Mr Murdoch comes from.
For me, it’s Google News. Whatever the search engine aggregates, I’ll likely go for—and whomever makes it to the top of the list on the topic I want to read about gets my click.
I am not convinced that that’s going to be a Murdoch Press publication every time.
And what if it is? Google News tells us when a site requires a subscription, so chances are, I’m going to go to the next one.
I also doubt if anyone has a monopoly on content any more as news has become more commodiﬁed over the last 15–20 years.
If I want news on a particular person, (s)he would either be a search result in Google News or in a newsfeed reader.
Since moving to a near-daily format at Lucire earlier this year, we’ve had fairly varying days visitor-wise depending on what news stories have made it on to the site. Viewer analyses tell us that many visitors are infrequent and, still, in some cases, ﬁrst-timers. (The features are steadier and they attract a lot of the regular viewers.)
More people are ﬁnding us again via search engines but, this time, it is Google News that is making up more of that share.
We might have our loyalists—every title does—but for the daily news, the stuff that News Corp. is trying to shift, loyalty is a rare commodity. Posted by Jack Yan, 13:03
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