Rupert Murdoch: The Era of Free News is Over

Via the Guardian, I see Rupert Murdoch plans to start charging for New Corp newspapers online. I suppose this was coming eventually, but it's still a big deal. Writes Andrew Clark:

Rupert ­Murdoch expects to start charging for access to News Corporation's newspaper websites within a year as he strives to fix a ­"malfunctioning" business model.

Encouraged by booming online subscription revenues at the Wall Street Journal, the billionaire media mogul last night said that papers were going through an "epochal" debate over whether to charge. "That it is possible to charge for content on the web is obvious from the Wall Street Journal's experience," he said.

But is it so obvious? I guess it's obvious to me that the business model is falling apart as fast as the auto industry. But it's not obvious that the example of the Journal presents the best route to safe ground.

That's because there is one big difference between the Journal and just about every other newspaper in the country: Businesses are willing to pay for the Journal. You can invest on the basis of the information in the Journal. Which means you can buy a subscription and charge it to your corporate account.

But for some reason I doubt that corporate America will be willing to pick up the tab for the New York Post or one of News Corps other fine journalistic offerings.