Wednesday, December 9, 2009

More bad news for Murdoch

Rupert Murdoch's approach to online content rests on a few basic tenets:
  • News aggregators* such as Google and Yahoo are stealing News Corp's content
  • People's online reading habits will reflect their newspaper buying habits
  • If the major outlets can all be persuaded to charge for content, people will have to pay
To which The Economist, citing a study by media consultancy Oliver & Ohlbaum, rebuts
  • People don't generally find their news through aggregators, so it's rather moot whether news aggregators are stealing or not
  • People's online reading habits have very little to do with what print publications they buy -- they'll read pretty much anything online
  • As more outlets decide to charge for content, people become less likely to pay
These findings fit against Murdoch's stated positions so tightly one would almost think they were aimed deliberately at rebutting them, and the last item is based on people's answers to a hypothetical question, but still ... the study does seem to put some meat on the bones of what a whole lot of web-savvy people have already been thinking and saying.

* Not to be confused with the search engines themselves, but Murdoch is also having a go at reining them in.

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